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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rejection is good.

I know I said I learned three lessons in the query process, but it's shaping up to be four.  As always, my writing experiences can be applied to so many aspects of life.  I'm in awe of the ways we, as humans, continue to learn the same lessons over and over again just in different contexts.  I suppose it could depress me.  I mean, really, how dense can we be?  Instead, I choose to think maybe it's all reinforcement.  So, the next lesson isn't really new, but I appreciated the reminder.

Lesson #2:  Rejection can be a good thing.

So listen, rejection sucks.  I think I've covered that.  It hurts.  It's personal.  It's a hit to the self-esteem.  That's true whether we're talking about a job, a guy at a bar, a friend who stops calling, or when only a few people "like" the Facebook status you thought was a masterpiece.  Your throat clogs up, and your chest gets tight, and suddenly you wonder why you even bothered in the first place.  Okay, fine, maybe you don't have as visceral a reaction to rejection as I do, but just check out these Reddit users' stories of rejection if you want to know how crappy it feels.

Rejection is important, though.  I'm sure I could find a million and one clich├ęs to illustrate my point, but we have to face rejection in order to improve.  We have to face rejection to know that we needed to improve in the first place.  At the same time, we have to be willing to hear what the rejector is saying in order to change. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Slow Down!

I'm just going to pretend it hasn't been months since I blogged.  I'd appreciate it if you'd play along in my denial.

Moat of you already know that I started out the year by accepting Jen Linnan's offer of representation. I'm still waiting for that to sink in or for fireworks to go off every time I even think about it.  Despite imagining it happening for three years, the whole thing still feels surreal.  I love reading "how I got my agent" stories, so I'm going to share mine, along with some additional lessons I learned in the query process, but I'll break it up into three parts. 

I've completed and queried three middle-grade novels.   By the time I was ready to query novel #3, I certainly felt like a failure.  My social networking circle is heavily populated with other queriers.  It seemed as if everyone was signing, publishing, and becoming best-sellers (or moving on to self-publishing, but I'll save that topic). I tried to take comfort in what I'd learned and how much I'd grown as a writer.  Sometimes, it worked, but sometimes, I wallowed.

Lesson #1: Go slow

Impatience is my middle name. I do not do slow well.  I'm only 5' feet tall, but if you take a walk down the hall with me, you may need running shoes to keep up.  I go fast.  Not surprisingly, then, I failed on this one the first time around.