Sep 19, 2012

The Writing Roller Coaster

First of all, I hate roller coasters.  I do not like the feeling of anti-gravity - heck I get nervous the first two or three turns on the ferris wheel.  I don't like the adrenaline rush - it gives me a massive headache.  And that doesn't even begin to explain the jerking and jarring motions, spinning, going upside down...you get the idea.

And yet, I've firmly placed myself in an endeavor that will absolutely be an emotional roller coaster.

Am I masochistic? I really hope not, but in some ways yes.

See, I have this little (okay, not really so little) story I'm working on, that a little more than a month ago I cut 15,000 words from....after I had cut 10,000 over the summer.  And this story won a prize in a first chapter competition in the spring, a prize which there was only one other winner in my category.  And when Brodi Ashton and Lindsey Leavitt had a go at it last weekend, they didn't have one single critique.  But over at GUTGAA, it didn't get one single vote.

*sigh*

This writing endeavor isn't for the faint of heart.  I'm fully aware of that.  But the people who say we just have to let rejections roll off our backs are lying too.  I know that my story is good and I know that reading is subjective.  But I think it is unhealthy to ignore disappointment.  We need to expect it and acknowledge it.  Don't give it power over us, but take that moment for reflection, for consideration, to see what it could be lacking and where improvement can be made.

And then, just like a roller coaster needs more energy to get up the first (horrific) climb, we use that as our motivation, as the energy to get us over the first really big hill.  Because roller coasters, once they make it over the first one, get to use inertia to help with the rest.

How do you deal with the inevitable disappointment?  And, more importantly, if I got passed on by four judges, doesn't that count as four no's and get me closer to my first rejection dinner?

13 comments :

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Rejection does hurt. We put so much time, energy, and really ourselves into our work. It's hard not to take personally. When rejection happens, I remind myself of all the times I have walked into a book store to buy a book. I will see hundreds that I want to read, but I can only get one. So, I pick. Sometimes by flipping a coin. It doesn't mean the books that lost the coin flip weren't good, they just didn't make the cut that day.

David P. King said...

Subjectivity and luck, a matter of showing your work at the right time to the right people. I have no doubt your story is great, but you tried. That's what matters. Even if you have to submit to over 100 agents (I know the feeling), you keep writing and querying. Your time will come. :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

My first page was in the MSFV secret agent contest this month. The agent was hooked, couldn't find anything wrong (other than changing one word--apparently he missed the typo), and would definitely read on. Except, he never picked it as a winner. True, he wasn't on my query list because I didn't think it was his thing, but I was slightly surprised after his comments. But no more surprised when he said the same about two others, yet never picked them as winners.

Yep, it really is subjective. :P

S.P. Bowers said...

Definitely counts towards the rejection dinner.

It's hard, and it hurts, but we just need to remember that a "no" is rejecting that book at that particular moment. Not us, not all our book, not forever and all time. Unless we give up. That's the ultimate rejection.

Joshua said...

Yes to the dinner. Also, I think my background in theatre and music has prepared me for rejection, though I have not queried yet, so maybe not?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It does get you closer to a yes!
Even once you get over that first hill and ride the full coaster, it's not easy. Because then you are back at the station and realize you have to do it again.

Lisa Regan said...

Rejection is a weird thing. I had so many rejections that actually did roll off my back but there are one or two that stand out to this day because they felt so awful I am still not over them. And yet they were really no different than the other 230 or so agent rejections or 10-20 publisher rejections or whatever. Sometimes it hurts really badly and sometimes it doesn't. What I would say is that your 4 pass-overs are in just one forum. It definitely sucks but there are other avenues you can take to advance your writing. But I know it sucks. I know what it feels like.

Andrew Leon said...

I want to have something enlightening to say, but I don't. At least nothing I haven't already said on my blog over and over again. You just keep going.

Yolanda Renee said...

I'm sorry. I know how you feel, and all I can offer is that time does heal the pain, just keep moving forward, one day you'll find your chance. I have to believe that I'm in the same boat as you -- rejection -- what an awful word what a horrible feeling!
Think of puppies and flowers and the last great review you received!

loverofwords said...

I like what you said about not giving rejections power over you. And. . .if you never tried (anything) you would never get rejections. It's all a learning process.

Angela Cothran said...

Aww Tasha, I'm so sorry :( I didn't get in either, but I kind of feel like it wasn't meant to be. You only need one agent to fall in love with it! I will happen for you. I believe :)

Jessie Humphries said...

Honestly, I think choosing to be a writer was one of the most bizarre decisions I've ever made! I like to succeed. I like hard work to turn into achievement. I love winning. And yet, here I am, nearly 5 years later still facing rejection. One day there will be a yes. But does one freaking yes erase all those no's?!?! I don't know. I hope so.

Simon Kewin said...

I just sigh and carry on. Rejections used to get to me a lot but now I'm used to them! Mind you, I love rollercoasters...