Thursday, December 2, 2010

Loss, Rejection and Keeping your Head Up, Dangit.

So, the great and thoughtful Natalie Whipple has a two part post on rejection, loss, waiting, "The Year of Suck" and all the other heart draining things that come with this fickle writing business. If you have not read it yet, drop everything and head over HERE and HERE. She is eloquent and lovely in word and deed and her thoughts (and the succeeding outpour of "we feel it too!" in the comments) are worth the time. Go read it.

I'll wait.


As writers, we wait. We wait for inspiration to strike us right, we wait for the baby to go down so we can write, we wait for feedback from friends and crit partners, we wait for agents to give us the Roman emporic thumbs up or thumbs down, we wait on submission with baited breath, we wait, we wait, we wait.

If we don't have the patience to do so, we will learn it quickly or we will perish.

When I first called my mom to tell her the news that an amazing agent had called me just to TALK about my work (two and a half years ago), the message got tangled up by my scatterbrained intercepting aunt. When Mom called back to congratulate me, she said, "Jean tells me that your book got published! Is it at Target yet?"


We wait patiently for the market to turn in our direction, to nod to our clever/romantic/boy-friendly/girl-friendly/action-packed/fairy-tale-retelling/steam-cyber-gas-wood-native-faery-punked manuscript. We wait patiently. We sob quietly into our pillows and not so quietly into our blogs; but it doesn't erase the fact that we still must wait.

In the meantime, we continue to write and hone our craft, read those who do it so much better and those who are still learning like us. What else? What else to do to prepare us for the windfall and blessed call that must come/will come/has surely got to come soon?

No really, I'm asking you. The waiting is getting to me. Like I said, patience of a flea and all that.

What do you do to calm the wandering brain and brave the pain of patience? Read, write, garden, punch things, patch things? As a new/seasoned/repped/published/dabbling/obsessive author, how do you keep going in the downtimes?

Me? I like to use up all the ////s in my post so there aren't any left over for the rest of the blogs that day. Other than that, I'm totally open to suggestions.


L. T. Host said...

I hang out with awesome people and move on to the next SHINY NEW IDEA. It's weird, but if I'm working on a new story it doesn't bother me as much that nothing's happened with the previous one. Of course, I'm still in the stages of querying, not on submission. I think I would be a neurotic nutcase on submission.

Right now it's like, if they say no, I can handle that. It just means I'm not good enough. I'm okay not being good enough; I'm either used to it or I can improve.

But once I have an agent, that's a whole different ballgame. Someone in the industry thinks they can sell what I write. There's a lot of hope there, wrapped up in having that champion. Maybe I AM good enough. Maybe I WILL do this.

And then you realize editors can say no, too. And that has to be heartbreaking. To be so close, to have that validation, to make it over that first terrifying wall and discover that there's another higher one on the other side.

I feel for you, and Natalie, and anyone else in the same situation, even though I'm not in it myself, because it's too easy to imagine what it's like.

For what it's worth, I'd TOTALLY buy your clever/romantic/boy-friendly/girl-friendly/action-packed/fairy-tale-retelling/steam-cyber-gas-wood-native-faery-punked book.

C. N. Nevets said...

I'm with LT. Just sent one out? Time to start on the next one.

Oh, and pace. A lot.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Distraction is the only thing that works for me. Fortunately for me, I'm highly distractible.

*wait, there's a squirrel!*

The only thing that helps is knowing that I'm getting better each day. :)

K. Marie Criddle said...

LT, you're awesome...and right. Just keep trucking and improving and trucking, etc. We're all bound to get somewhere if we just keeping doing that, right? And CN, I hear you on the pacing. That's one thing I very much struggle with...I'm either doing nothing or trying to attack everything at once. Pace!!

And Susan, its so's nice to rest assured that wi practice, we are always better than we were before. And Asa far as distraction goes, I completely agr---HEY LETS GO RIDE BIKES.

Thank you all for stopping by!

Adam Heine said...

One word: anime.

dolorah said...

I have no patience either! I've only sent out a few queries on my novel, and it's almost a relief to get the rejection back.

Waiting on that rejection is agonizing enough; but if someone were ever to ask for a partial - I'd be totally freaked the whole time waiting on a return response.

I have a short story that was accepted for publication in an e-zine, and I've been waiting 3 months to see it posted on the schedule. I click on my e-mail several times a day just to see if its scheduled. The longer I wait the more obsessive I'm getting.

So yeah, I think I need to find a way to move on and start something else along the query/submit/wait path.

My favorite distraction however is Blogging.