Never say die…

Set of Red Boxing GlovesYou’ve just typed The End on a manuscript that made you laugh and cry and get that heart-so-big-it-could-burst-your-chest feeling in all the right places.  Booyah!  It’s time to pop the cork on the bubbly ’cause this baby is going to knock an editor’s socks off and make all your readers swoon.

Enjoy that high.  Sip your champagne.  Maybe even get a manicure to reward those tired typing fingers!

But, also, brace yourself.  Because someone is not going to like your masterpiece. 

I know, I’m so sorry to harsh your mellow:/

No one wants to imagine the story they’ve worked hard on for weeks or months or even years being turned down.  It’s not only harsh.  It’s painful.  A rejection of something you’ve put your heart and soul into often feels like a rejection of you.

That’s why it’s so important to enjoy the fizz of champagne bubbles in your nose even as you’re keeping your feet firmly and practically planted on the ground.

‘Cause it’s going to happen.

Everyone gets rejected.  And, guess what, even after you’ve made your first sale or your second or your third, you’ll still face rejection because *every* story you create has its own individual journey to fruition.

So, I’ve prepared you for the inevitable moment when an editor doesn’t want a manuscript you believe in all the way down to the marrow in your bones.  Now, I’m going to prepare you for the moment following that moment.  I’m going to give you the secret to success right here, right now.  Be ready ’cause it’s going to change your future and rock your world.  Four little words that have stood in the way of millions of writers ever seeing their story become a book.

Send it out again.

There are so many sayings that embrace the idea of not giving up.  “Never say die”, “try, try again”, “the battle’s not over ’til the last boat is sunk”.

It’s too easy to stay down after we’ve been knocked on our ass.  It’s too easy to lose your belief in yourself and in your work and it’s even easier to loose your belief in a story.  After all, there’s always another story on the horizon… or Sudoku.  I’ve heard it’s relaxing and fun.

Writers who consistantly see their work in print or e-book form don’t stay down.

Oh, sure, we might wallow there on the floor for a little while (especially if someone we love pities us Temptation - Gluttony Woman eating chocolateenough to throw us some chocolate), but before too long we get back up again.  Who knows what fuels us?  It might be different things at different times.  Anger, determination, wild-eyed optimism rearing its crazy head.  Or it might just be that the story and/or the characters in it won’t let us go.  Not ’til we’ve exhausted all options.  Not ’til we’ve banged on the inboxes/mailboxes of every publisher/agent/editor  in town.

It’s strange that writers, a group of people who felt like they had something to say–so much so–that they spent hours putting it to paper, are also so easily shut down and shut up. But, it’s true.  I’ve seen it happen again and again.  I’ve been derailed myself a time or two.

When I stopped getting derailed by rejection is when I started getting published.

My hope for every writer brave enough to put their heart on a manuscript page is that they’ll reach a point in their writing life where they’re capable of gettting right back up when they’ve been knocked down by rejection. 

Never say die.

“Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, there is a series of obstacles, and the bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles. Your decision to be, have and do something out of the ordinary Sepia toned portrait of a girl with red boxing glovesentails facing difficulties and challenges that are out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else.”

~ Brian Tracy

Send it out again.

11 Responses to “Never say die…”
  1. sandrasookoo says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Those first rejections had the power to keep me under the covers in tears. Yes, rejections still come, maybe more than I’d like to see, but these days alot more are accompanied by the words “revise and resubmit”, but still. It stings. The key is most definitely to move on and keep going. Nothing good in life is gained by sitting on the sidelines watching the world go by because you’re afraid.

    Happy writing!

  2. Dawn McClure says:

    I’ll admit. I’m stubborn. Until I get what I want, I keep on going. That being said, the first rejection letter I ever received was from an agent, and I immediately shelved the manuscript and didn’t touch the computer for 2 weeks.

    After a few weeks, I not only looked at that letter again, but I framed it and put it up on my office wall. I did this because that letter represented a step in the ladder to publication. I’d finished something, polished it, and sent it out. You’d be surprised how many people never get that far.

    Great post. 🙂

  3. About a month ago, I got two rejections in the same week. Crushing blow. I was so upset, but my fiance talked me through it, got me past the pain, and I started to think differently about it. I would keep a tally of the rejections, and remember all the people who were wrong. My book is good enough, and someone will publish it. The rejections are merely oversights.

    Having my old man’s best friend get more enthralled in my book than the Sookie Stackhouse novel she had was also a big boost in confidence. Convinced me the rejections were totally wrong.

  4. Venessa G says:

    Great post 🙂 I’d also recommend doing revisions. If the manuscript has just been completed, it’s never ready to be submitted yet. First drafts just don’t usually make it. Let it sit a week or two, then go through it weeding out passive verbs, adverbs and weak sentence structures. Double check that each scene pushes the plot forward, rather than just being there because it’s a pretty scene.

    Also, be aware of your market. Don’t submit to markets that don’t publish your genre. That’s just looking for a rejection.

    Being both a writer and an editor, I’ve been on both sides of the rejection letter. As an editor, I’ll say that most of the mss from new-to-us authors I’ve seen that weren’t contracted were because they were obviously first, maybe second drafts.

    As a writer, I’m always really eager to get an idea from the person doing the rejecting as to why they didn’t like it. Some folks give a reason, some don’t. At the end of it, though, we just have to keep submitting.

    Again, great post!

  5. Robyn Bski says:

    This is a very timely post for me, having just received another rejection. I am determined to keep trying. Someone out there will love my baby (hey, it won a contest, it can’t be that bad). 😉

  6. It is *definitely* important to pay attention to why something was rejected. If you’re lucky enough to get a personal rejection, an editor’s input is invaluable. I’ve learned more from editors than I ever learned from a book or a workshop!

    I have a kind of unwritten rule of three. If three people tell me the same thing about a story, especially if any or all of them are editors or agents, you can bet I’m gonna bank on what they’ve said. LOL

    On the other hand, I’ve seen friends completely rework manuscripts based on one vague rejection and I don’t think writers should do that. Send it out again. If you get “hero is too dark” from several editors/agents, take a good hard look. If you still like your hero, keep sending ’til you find someone who likes him too. But, chances are, if you get more than one person telling you the same thing, you’re going to be able to see why they’re saying it and what you should do about it.

    Just don’t ever give up!

  7. Chandra Ryan says:

    Great post! I’m a firm believer in ‘send it out again’. I try to have at least three different publishers picked out for each story from the very beginning. That way, if I get a rejection it doesn’t sting as bad. I already know who I’m going to send it off to next.

  8. Suzanne Rock says:

    Another great post, Barbara. Sometimes it’s hard not to take a rejection personally. The first rejection I ever got crippled me. It was a form rejection from Harlequin and it caused me to stop writing for 2 years. Eventually, I realized what you did. Never say die. I wrote another manuscript and sent it out. Then another…then another…two years of consisent writing and countless rejections before I sold. And I still get them. The difference now is that I don’t let the rejections keep me down.

    What is that saying? “Write. Submit. Repeat.” 🙂

  9. Bonnie H says:

    Important words to take to heart – thank you again for another wonderful post Barbara – I have a few blogs I follow and like, but this one is consistently my favorite – thanks ladies!! *hugs*

  10. Mel Teshco says:

    I truly believe the big R’s us writers get on our journey are what makes the big A(cceptance) that much sweeter. Never give up ladies! =)

  11. Yay! It’s great to hear that we’re your favorite blog, Bonnie that means a lot to me. Suzanne, I love it when someone reminds me of something I’ve said that I should have tatooed on my knuckles so I wouldn’t forget. Write. Submit. Repeat. So important to keep that rythmn going! Chandra, that’s a very smart idea. I might keep that in mind as I stalk agents these next few months;> Mel, what you say is true. And often it’s the rejections that push us to greater and greater heights.

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