Writing Emotional Pain – without bleeding too much on your readers
“Please reject.” The email was from a complete stranger. I almost didn’t open it because I thought it was junk mail.
Then I thought, oh. Oh. A reject letter. I might as well see who this is really from.
I was once told that writing one’s pain makes a compelling read. It’s deep and people can identify. My pain is rejection. I don’t do well with it. I never have. I think I was born with it. It’s called Avoidant Personality Disorder (APD). In other circles, it’s called Root of Rejection. Healing comes in stages with me.
I promise not to bleed all over you, but show you a bit about how my thinking is skewed. Ridiculous thoughts of self-condemnation and diminished self-worth keep running through my mind.
Really now. I do know better. I really do, and yet I get caught up in the misery. I’m not going to recite the long litany of rejections I’ve had in my life. But suffice it to say – it’s from before birth. I evidently have a personality type that was affected by being adopted. My brother, who is adopted, wasn’t affected, not in that way.
Why would one stinkin’ rejection from an intern try to steal my hope? Because it was so impersonal – and so inaccurate. I expected more from this award-winning literary agent. But why should I have? He daily doles out rejection slips through his intern, probably like an assembly line. He just records the dictation tape, or puts a sticky note on a file, saying “please reject.”
I was disappointed because I had high hopes. They were dashed. This guy recently won an award for being very good at his job. But everything in the actual two-sentence content of the reject letter showed me he made some erroneous assumptions and presumptions.
Because I’m previously unpublished, he assumed I didn’t know the publishing process. He presumed I hadn’t even had the sample chapters I sent him – or my whole manuscript for that matter – professionally edited. The prologue was edited by five successful published authors through classes and the professional edit. The “first chapter” was edited by three of the five.
Unfortunately, I didn’t tell him any of that. I’m not sure it would have made a difference. But of course he’s a busy man – too busy to even tell me himself that I’m not ready for publication, and I should have my manuscript professional edited. Enough of him.
His intern is obviously so young, she doesn’t have much experience in professional business etiquette or correspondence. Honestly, here’s what the subject line said.
I’ve come full circle. I’m back to the beginning. And this is the end. Being cynical, but real, with you today. If you feel bled on, slimed, or in any way trashed by this – I’m sorry. Please accept my apologies.
Because I do have a hope – and options. If the other three people representing publishers and another agent also decide to reject my manuscript, I’ll publish it myself, if I have to. I’m not being belligerent, just stating my plan. I will get out of this desert.
What do you think I should do? Leave a comment and let me know. And – thanks for reading.