I had a thought the other day that has been settling into my mind and heart: Just because my stories are rejected one after the other does not mean that I am on a course of automatic acceptance one day. WHAT!?
I’m not sure what got me thinking about this. It could’ve been the guy at work expecting to be promoted based on his time of service at the company, as opposed to merit based on work performance or suitability for the job.
Counting down the rejections does not guarantee publication. Sounds simple, but it is a warning to myself not to expect something based simply on time and effort. Maybe, I’m just not that good. I chuckle, but… that could be true.
Let me quote from a rejection I got only yesterday:
“I’ve reviewed your work with _____ and I’m sorry to say that we weren’t connecting wholeheartedly with your writing, despite its many charms, so we should step aside. We truly appreciate the look, though, and we wish you nothing but the best of luck with your future endeavors.”
I was happy, at least, to have received some form of feedback, as one cannot expect responses from agents with the tons of queries they get each month.
I would like to think that I have something unique and special to offer kids out there, so I will keep writing stories as they come to me, but that does not guarantee me a place on a bookshelf.
We all know the stories of Dr Seuss who was rejected 23 or 32 times before being published and the other day I read of a lady that was rejected 400 times before being published. X does not equal Z. I found myself counting my rejections, saying to myself, “oh well, just another 100 rejections, or so, and then maybe I’ll be published…” Huh, I am now at a clear crossroads: if I am going to feel entitled to be published just because I have received an abundance of rejections, I am setting myself up for a whole lot of hurt and disappointment, never mind the inevitable anger when I am NEVER published…OR…I can resolve to just keep writing away, enjoying what I am currently doing, continuing to challenge myself, submit queries, seek out an agent, keep offering my work up and then, if it happens…great, if not, oh well, I have had the opportunity to express myself and create. And besides, I love writing the stories, so I will continue to do what I love.
I also have a clear understanding that as much as I feel that God wants me to write for children, as long as I am obedient in doing the act of writing, that it is ultimately up to him to connect me with the right agent at the right time and with the right story. The pressure is off on that whole OTHER SIDE of the writing spectrum. I only need to focus on doing my job on this side: write, write and write some more, go to conferences, hone my abilities through critiques and practice, learn, grow, be open to new things and work hard at getting my best work out there. So that’s what I’ll do.
Keep writing, persevere through rejection, and watch out for any form of entitlement.