At one point or another in one’s life, we all have been rejected and there is no other way to look at them other than: rejections suck. Whether by a boy/girl, by a parent, by a friend, you name it–rejection hurts. One can’t ever sugarcoat a rejection, no matter the delivery method: sandwiched, wrapped, bluntly. Bottom line, it’s still a rejection, a door closed, end of the road.
Today’s post focuses on rejections I, as a writer, am familiar with and how I deal with them. It’s no right or wrong way to do it, it’s just my personal take on them.
I started writing summer of 2009. I chose the self publishing path for several reasons, one of them being my insecurity about how many stories would I be able to write. Was there more than one book in me? Would I be able to deliver quality work, handle deadlines?
Since then I published several novels (5 to be exact) and have several other stories in different stages of being finished. Beginning of 2016 I decided to look for an agent, confident writing is as part of my DNA as the color of my eyes. And so the query stage begun . . .
It’s still vivid in my mind the first query I sent and how fast my heart pounded in my chest, my clammy hand pressing the “send” button, as if I was releasing a nuclear bomb, no less. The empowering surge (me, the little immigrant now a proud American who turned writing from a dream into reality) combined with OMG-what-did-I-do feeling and topped with an incredible overpowering vulnerability. Let me tell you, such a powerful cocktail of emotions brought me on the verge of . . . throwing up.
That one query letter was followed by several others. I even made myself a beautiful spreadsheet with agent’s names and email addresses, agency’s websites, date I queried them and an empty column at the very end titled “YES/NO.” I wasn’t expecting that column to fill out too soon. All agents warn you about how long it takes to receive an answer (if any). And so the waiting begun . . .
I remember the first rejection and the hurt it brought. The second, and the third… the deep and dark hole I was spiraling down into… the self-doubt and the acute need to be invisible so people won’t see my bleeding heart. The one rejection I received within exact 15 minutes after sending it, not as one of those automated response but written by the agent from his Iphone, as the end of the email stated. And the list can go on. Every single rejection delivered one blow after another and my hope diminished accordingly. Somehow, by the 4th rejection something snapped in my brain and the blow, while still disappointing, it’s not hurting as bad.
To date I’ve accumulated ten rejections. Some of my author friends burn them. Some frame them. Some use them as background for dartboard.
I’m by nature a control freak and shy so putting myself out there was never an easy thing for me, afraid people will judge me and I’d never rise to their expectations. This whole querying process is one of the hardest journeys I’ve embarked on that has taught me a lot of things about myself. My mind is my own enemy so I have to constantly talk myself out of (or in) something but one day, I’ll learn to stop self-doubting myself or so help me whichever power reigns over this universe!!!