Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sigh, Another Rejection
(long, whiny post)

I've been remiss in posting, but as is evident from my last post, work has been hectic. 

Most days, I fall asleep around 2am, if I'm lucky, and get up, somewhere between 6am and 8am. Before work there is the issue of taking care of my two ancient kitties. Pye needs meds twice daily now, and both demand love and attention, and food, at least twice daily. No breakfast for me. I'd rather sleep those few extra minutes. My commute is hellish at best. I love living in West Seattle, but the twenty miles to work can take as long as two hours depending on when my first meeting starts. And if the City of Seattle is doing some new road construction project, that number increases exponentially depending on the idiocy of our city council.

Stay with me here, I'm leading up to my excuse for the big pity party I'm having. Work means juggle multiple projects for as long as I can without killing someone. There are few built-in pressure release values these days. We used to go out to lunch, to decompress more than anything, but now going out to lunch is an "event". These days I grab lunch and eat during a meeting. Once I've finally done as much as I can for one day, I usually go out to dinner with one or more friends, because cooking dinner takes a lot of energy that I don't have right now.  The problem with having dinner with friends is that I come home sated and sleepy. And useless. 

If you've gotten this far, and you know me well enough, you'll know that I needed to write this, needed to vocalize (or at least record) that I'm burning the candle at both ends. (I know, bad Nellie bad; don't use over-used idioms in serious writing.) Anyway, due to some situations better left in my childhood, situations that I'd rather not write about, I don't have a "stop button", don't have a way to say, "it's okay to do nothing today, to sleep and read, and just enjoy the day". When I try to do those things, I feel guilty. I steam cleaned the carpets last weekend with a raging migraine.  But enough said. 

Let's just say that I'm exhausted.  So when I checked my personal email during a meeting yesterday to find a rejection letter, I believe I have a halfway decent reason for the tears that came to my eyes. (I quickly blinked them away, of course.)

Maybe it was because this was one of the agents I thought would be interested, seriously interested. Maybe it was because she wrote a lovely rejection letter. Maybe I'm not dealing with the rejection as well as I thought I would. Maybe, maybe, maybe...

So I whined to several friend, who gave me good advice, especially Dustin who pushes me to be better than I am, and I told myself the story of Steve Berry, who I heard speak at a retreat in Hawaii. I'll let him tell the story. The following is from the web site of a writer who has over 12 million books in print in 51 countries: 

He [Steve Berry] made the decision to write a novel in 1990. It was something Steve thought about for years, but finally decided to act on. That first attempt was long and awful. The second and third attempts weren't much better. It wasn't until the fourth try that he began to appreciate the reality that writing novels is hard. Steve kept writing for 12 years and produced 8 manuscripts. Each one was a learning experience and, as he wrote, Steve studied the craft. His education was one of trial and error. He attended a writing workshop once a week for 6 years, where the participants would tear apart everything he wrote. Then he'd go home and put it all back together again, hopefully a little better than before. Between the workshop, the writers' group, and writing everyday Steve taught himself the craft. Not until six years into the process was he fortunate to land an agent. She kept him around for 7 years until May 2002, when Ballantine Books finally bought The Amber Room. During those years five different manuscripts were submitted to New York publishers, each one was rejected, 85 rejections all total, until eventually, on the 86th attempt, the right-editor-at-the-right-time-with-the-right-story was found. Like Steve says, 'he may or may not know much about writing, but he's an expert on rejection.'

I decided to write a novel is 2005. I'm seven years into the project, of which I've only really put any effort into it for the past five years. I have four rejections, to date. So in the words of my friend Dustin: The worst that could happen is that your book won't get published and you'll have to take all that you've learned from this one and write a better one.  The best that could happen is that it will get published and you'll still have to take all that you've learned and write a better one.

With that said, I'm still having a pity party, but at least I have good, supportive friends, and I'm in good company, rejection wise.

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