I saved this Ray Bradbury quote. Not because I plan to wallpaper a room with rejection slips but to remind myself that my list of rejection e-mails for two of my manuscripts amounts to maybe a quarter of a wall.
Rejection emails don’t phase me too much anymore. With a click of a button, they slide right into my “Queries” folder unless the lit agent wrote something more than a form letter. I jot down whatever suggestions they offered and send good thoughts to those agents for taking a minute to say something constructive.
And then I take a deep breath, put my big girl panties on and get back to work.
Now that doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to constructive criticism, I’d be an idiot not to take someone’s suggestions and toss them around, see if they fit and give it a try.
This is also the time when I remind myself that I’ve lived through worse than an email rejection letter and got through it, survived and thrived.
A rejection letter is a little nudge, sometimes a kick, to remind me that I am doing the work. I’m sending out query letters.
I love to put words together. Many times I found that I have to learn how to put those words together in a better way.
I remind myself that although I’ve been rejected, I must be doing something right if I also receive requests for more pages, writing fellowships, and selected to be mentored in an Association of Writing Professionals (AWP) program.
All of those good things have been interspersed with the not so great. As I write this, my little email slider dings and I see another rejection letter came in my mailbox. I’ll share with you:
Thanks so much for your query. I’m really grateful that you chose to submit to me, but I’m sorry to say I’m not connecting enough with this project. I hope you will try me again with future work if you don’t find representation for this.
Young women in prison do not connect with a lot of people especially when I write about young women who are from ‘subgroups,’ ‘subcultures,’ et al. (the immigrant, the addicted, the gang banger, the sexually abused).
I remind myself that someone out there will connect with that story. I just have to get through the ‘gatekeepers.’
I remind myself and ask you to remind yourself, that persistence is a quality to hold onto if you want to become a writer and author.
Only persistence keeps me going, walking, trudging through the revisions and rejections.
And now, back to work.
8 thoughts on “Rejection and Persistence-The Writing Life”
Keep going, Mona! I think it says something about your writing ability that they asked you to send future projects to them.
You think so? I thought she was being polite, but I’ll send another ms sometime in the near future and remind her that she said to do so. 🙂
I’ve gotten some form replies that don’t have that extra line. But I also got a response from an agent before to definitely send her new material.
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Totally share your feelings about rejection, Mona. I also sadly find interesting that the topic of your novel can meet some resistance because of its topic. It reminds me of one of my hardest experiences as a writer. I wrote a picture book about a child spending his week in anticipation to his visit to his mother in prison. I had met people who work in the CA prison system and worked a lot on the story. At a conference I was told that the topic was depressing and not reflecting the reality of enough children. In fact at that time several children in one of my children’s class had one or two parents behind bars. There are topics that disturb because they aren’t sexy and don’t show the shiniest aspect of our country. But with the stunning number of young women currently in prison, you are right on target. You just need to find the honest agent or editor who will say yes.
As always, so good to read about your experiences as you go along your writing journey. Best to you, Mona.
Thank you for sharing your experience. You’re so right, young women in prison aren’t ‘sexy, fun, or lighthearted.’ And it’s not superheroine’s in the traditional sense. With one of the biggest incarcerated populations in the world, you’d think a children’s book such as your own or a YA, would find a place.
I’m hopeful that an agent will take a chance.
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I hope too, Mona.
Write,rite,right, when will we ever get it right to write? Liked your blog on the rejection slips.
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Oh boy, I can only feel the rejection for you. I mean, I haven’t gotten to the point of sending out letters yet, and I’m shaking just thinking about your beautiful writing, and what it must feel like…but I KNOW you will be accepted and just keep writing and never, ever, give up! I sort of look at my art in a manner that it doesn’t matter to me if it sells, or if anybody approves of it, or even likes it…I do it for the pure pleasure of creating. I think I will need to self-publish to get any satisfaction.