Two years ago, I attended an Oregon SCBWI conference and heard one of the presenters (a published author) say she loved getting rejections because it proved she was still working. At the time, I was new to the industry and thought it a bit counterintuitive. If I remember correctly, "Huh..." was my in-my-head-not-uttered-out-loud reaction.
So ... two years later, I've received a number of those infamous rejection letters, and I have to say, I do not find them the slightest bit endearing, pleasing, or motivating. In fact, I've found they have a way of sending my stomach into fits and ruining my entire day ... which then makes me a bit wistful for my prior corporate life of regular paychecks, fabulous health coverage, and a pension plan.
Can you tell I received a rejection yesterday?
I tend to look at many things through rose-colored glasses ... and I've tried, with rejections, to grant them the same response of the author noted above. To no avail. Granted, rejections do accomplish a number of things ... they are humbling; they make you appreciate little successes all the more; and they are a fabulous test of perseverance. But, in no way, shape, or form are they proving to me that I'm still working. A contract, however, would accomplish that for me.
The rejection I received yesterday was a bit more devastating than those that have come before it. Last year, I made it to the 'final round', I'll call it, with a publisher ... I was one of the last manuscripts standing after 7 long months of elimination rounds (my term, not theirs!). Two weeks before Christmas, as I was wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin' ... plannin' and dreamin' (sorry, those Ani Defranco lyrics just popped into my head!), I received an e-mail that they had agonized over the decision and decided not to go with my book. Ughhh ... not what I'd wished for from Santa.
I LOVE this publisher ... I adore their books, and I admire the way they communicate quickly and continually with their potential authors ... via e-mail! And, I so wanted to work with them. Early this year, a new book idea - that fit this particular publisher's genre - made its way to my head. And, I've been working on it ever since ... writing it with this publisher in mind. So, after writing and editing and polishing and editing and cutting and polishing ... and then fighting the paranoia that seems to accompany me sending anything to any publisher even after I've researched it to death, I've been rejected.
So, today ... I'm trying to look at my rejection as proof that I'm still out there working ... writing, researching, editing, perfecting, learning. I have to admit, though, my glasses on this one are still a bit grimy.