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What I Learned While Writing a Novel, Writing

July 10, 2014

Induction into Club Rejection

A few weeks ago, I got my very first rejection from a publisher.

And I was thrilled.

I’m finally in the club! Every legitimate writer has been rejected—and now, so have I!

The rejection was initially complimentary, and noted a couple of things I had been trying to do with the manuscript were working. What I took from this was that I am capable of writing well enough to be published; this just wasn’t the right story for this editor’s list. I have written this type of response from the other side of the desk, and I respect it. Sometimes there is something intriguing, but it’s just not enough to go all the way.

The reason to pass was not a surprise, and I was grateful that it was a critique I could see and understand. As much as I wanted to send out something absolutely perfect, my agent and I had agreed that the manuscript does have a shot, and I’d gotten it as far as I was going to get it at this stage, for a variety of reasons. It was time to see whether anyone was going to fall in love with it.

Thus far, two editors have not, and I am surprisingly okay with it. It’s easy to say whatever will happen will happen, but it’s a lot harder to legitimately feel that way when things don’t turn out as you’d hoped.

I attribute this to a couple of things:

  1. A novena to St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers, which helped me gain mature perspective on my life as a writer. The prayer is not explicitly focused on writing, which made it difficult for me to say at first. Over time, I’ve found that because it reaches more broadly, I can better see how writing fits in to the whole of my life.
  2. My agent knowing not only when the manuscript was ready, but also when I was truly ready to let this one go.
  3. Encouragement from family and friends who remind me that writing a novel and getting an agent are pretty big deals in themselves (it’s tougher to remember this once you’re on to the next thing).
  4. Being super excited and slightly intimidated by my next project.

Now, I hope, it’s not too far fetched that sooner or later I’ll make my way into another, more coveted club. There’s a whole lot of hard work between here and there, but it’s work I’m more excited than ever to do.

  1. Mom says:

    Congrats to you! I think receiving something better than a form letter, or worse yet, crickets chirping a chorus is an incredible encouragement! And yes, your maturity level does show as a writer because you aren’t huffing and puffing and calling out the demons in the ivory tower (I’ve read a few of those rants!). So yes, congrats. And also good luck on your next project! Another sign that you are on your way…not sitting on your idle fingers and fretting about, but actually working hard in your craft. Go get ’em Writer Girl!!!!

  2. Thank you! And thanks for reading!

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