Surviving Rejection

It was the best day of my life. I was in line to meet one of my heroes, messing with my phone. I got an email saying an agent was interested in my book but wanted me to edit and resubmit.

I was on top of the world. That feeling of lightness where nothing can bring you down.

I put my heart into my manuscript. Three months and two drafts later, I sent my manuscript back to the agent.

It wasn’t enough.

I was crushed. I came down from that high and slammed into the floor, bursting into millions of pieces.

I was ready to give up.

What kept me going? Nothing. I stopped. I had a lapse in writing and editing.

Then it occurred to me that if this agent liked my idea but my edits weren’t enough, some agent would want the new version I was proud of.

So I queried again. I did pitch parties on Twitter. I checked MSWL almost daily. I started querying agents that I never thought of querying.

By this time, I had a second book to query, really my 4th (the first 3 are a series). I was querying 2 books and getting rejections daily.

My 4th book was a book I wrote for therapy. I poured myself into it. I let all the hurt, rejection, and loss from my life take over.

Still, I was focused on my first book. I was up to dozens of rejections. This time, I wouldn’t let it go.

My 4th book was on the first round of queries. I had sent out a dozen. I got a partial request. I sent it and pushed it out of my mind.

About a month later, the partial became a full. Ok, it was my first and only full request on book 4, but I was used to giving fulls with my other book. I didn’t let it get my hopes up though there is always that little spark of hope.

It was November, election day. I woke up as usual, picked up my phone, and checked my email.

The agent who had my full wanted a call to discuss representation. I didn’t freak out as I thought I would. I calmly wrote back. It took days for it to sink in.

I notified the other agents I queried and got two more full requests, but I decided to go with that first agent. My agent, Julie Gwinn, is awesome.

I think about what my dad once said to me, “You’re happier when you’re writing.” So I kept writing and I improved.

That first book is rough. That first chapter is worse. You can polish it off forever, but you can also exercise your brain by writing more and coming back to that first book later. That’s what worked for me.

Part of being a creative is dealing with rejection. You have to value your work and know someone else will value it too,but you can’t succeed if you stand in place. Write.

Perseverance

Perseverance. It’s been my mantra for the last three years.

How did I write 5 books? I didn’t give up. I sat down and did the work, and I repeated until I had achieved my goal.

Everything about being an author is founded on perseverance. From writing to landing an agent to publishing.

Day after day you have to put one foot in front of the other because you can achieve your dreams.

When things feel bleak and you’ve lost hope, what depends on success is whether you keep going anyway.

Even the most successful authors have doubts. It’s part of the job, but you can turn it around if you just keep going.

The first draft is going to be terrible, but that’s OK. You can fix it later. Nobody will see it until you want them to, but nobody will read your story unless you get it out there when it’s polished.