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.