Here We Go Again–Another Rejection
Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. Nine rejections in a year. Maybe that’s not a lot for most writers, but for someone healing from rejection issues like me, it’s like having a hundred.
I’ve read posts by other writers who say they have so many rejections they could paper a wall with them. Really? I have a feeling they’re exaggerating. Do they keep track of how many they get?
I do. That’s why I know I’ve had nine. Three contests, four publishers, two agents. Most of the publishers say they’re too busy now. Such was the case of my last two rejections. They’re just too busy.
Then why did they ask to see my manuscript? Did they expect it to be that outstanding and overwhelming to them that they couldn’t resist? Evidently. I probably disappointed them, as they now disappoint me.
But what I’m learning is: heal quickly. I was a monster on Sunday, the day I heard from my contingency publisher, the one I was sure would take “Meghan’s Choice” and run with it. I don’t handle crises well in the beginning. It took me twenty (20) gut-wrenching, soul-searching, heart-rending hours to work through the pain and begin to release it. But that is a RECORD for me!
Rejections are like paper cuts. They hurt a LOT in the beginning. A LOT! But we can’t let them affect our lives in the long run, because it’s too easy to let things like this short-circuit, delay, and strand us for years in a wilderness. I ought to know, it’s happened to me. But I’m through letting that happen. We have to press through the pain. That’s the hard part.
It’s not pretty when I go off the deep end and rail at God. I’m a redhead and I get very, very angry. I call them “grand mal” temper tantrums (like a grand mal seizure). I shout, scream, and otherwise be nasty, degrading myself, mostly. Because I take responsibility for my actions, I blame myself because my manuscript wasn’t what they wanted. But I have to stop doing that, too. I wrote my story to glorify God, not only to please man.
Most “Christian” novels are no more than basic fluff writing, because even Christians don’t want to be challenged when they read, they want to be entertained. They want to escape their problems just like anyone else. They want God to intervene, but only on their terms. I’ve heard it said that Christian publishers are the worst when it comes to the supernatural in writing. They don’t want demons or angels in the story. Wow. Our battle is spiritual, we need angelic help, and we wrestle with the demons in our own lives. Why then was Frank Peretti so successful with his books if people didn’t want to know about that kind of hope?
I’m sorry, that’s not good enough for me. I want to see God’s power in a story. I want to read about miracles. I want to read about how the presence of God came upon the Virgin Mary. What did that feel like? Can we experience that today? Yes. I won’t conceive and birth the Messiah, because He’s already come, but the same power of the Holy Spirit that conceived Jesus, has touched me many times. I want to read about that. Catherine Marshall described some of that feeling in her novel, Christy, and I’ll never forget it.
Blessed Child and A Man Called Blessed are the two best books I’ve ever read about the supernatural power of God in everyday life. Bill Bright and Ted Dekker wrote these books fifteen years ago. I was reminded of them yesterday, when a friend who was celebrating my commissioning from ministry training school, took me to lunch. We stopped at an independent bookstore. And there was A Man Called Blessed. It was a used book, I recognized the older cover, but I bought it for my friend who has the first book, and nearly finished it. She hopes to finish Blessed Child, then go directly into A Man Called Blessed. Matt Crouch thought he’d make a movie of Blessed Child a number of years ago. I wish he had. I long to see the Christian supernatural in movies as well.
There are three points I’m trying to make here.
One: Yes, I got another rejection. It may be my last one for this book, because “Meghan’s Choice” is now in limbo, and she may stay there forever unless I decide to publish her myself on CreateSpace, knowing full well, that while that gives me Amazon’s advantage, it will probably take away the support of the local indie bookstore I just patronized yesterday.
Two: While I am very happy I healed from the worst part of the pain of rejection quicker than ever, I’m not proud of myself in the way I did it. I let it all hang out when I’m with God, because He’s big enough to hear me out, even when I don’t act like I’m a Christian. I am real in my pain. I don’t hide anything from God.
Three: Although I don’t know my future, I trust in God, who does. I just wish He would tell me a bit more so I could be prepared. But trust says “I will follow the Lord no matter what.” I have a lot of irons in the fire, with ACFW and three blogs I’m involved in, two of them brand spanking new. I’s not like I don’t have anything to do. I’m actually quite busy myself.
So, I refuse to give in to depression, to prolonged anger that could turn into hatred or a grudge. I choose to release. That is the key. Release it and let it go. I’m prepared to let my novel go the way of all unpublished novels if need be. She’s just about as dead as she could ever be. But I’m not. I am alive, and I will live my life.
What about you? Do you keep track of hurts and pains? The only reason I did this was so I would know how far I’ve come. Leave a comment and let me know.
Yep, writers need to learn how to deal with rejection. For me, 40 (both explicit and implied, that is, no response) in just a few months. All agents. And a story rejected by a journal. So I start again and keep trying to get better. I’ve decided that I write for reasons other than to be published, though publication remains a goal. Here’s a question for you: Would you write if you knew that your work would NEVER be published? For me, the answer is yes. It helps me move on past the rejections.
Donna, Boy can I ever relate to the temper thing…and I’m not a redhead, never was unless it came from a bottle, but my mom was. As for rejection letters, I don’t take them as rejection. I read what was written and go “Oh well, what did I learn?” I’ve learned from each failure. I remember hearing of best selling author’s who suffered scads of rejections. I’ve also heard of a best selling author who sold the first book and never had another published. So there you go. There’s no accounting for what grabs a publishers fancy and what doesn’t. Caryl McAdoo is now self-publishing and doing quite well. I like some supernatural stuff in my reads, too. Blessings as you write. Loved your blog. Well written.
Donna, Your post strikes me on so many levels. Firstly, I’m sorry for your pain. Rejection hurts, pure & simple. And in this line of work, we face truckloads of it. When I first became a real estate agent, my mentor told me we would only get a “yes” about 10% of the time, so for every “no” figure we were that much closer to our yes/sale. Helpful, but the rejections in real estate never felt as personal as rejections in publishing. And your frustration/questions are shared, my friend. Why do agents ask for novels and then say they can’t sell fiction? I hope you are encouraged, though, that you are growing in your relationship to God. And that you are encouraging some of us who share this writerly journey.
I’m thrilled to hear your ideas on powerful content vs. fluff. Hope continues! And figure I must read the BLESSED CHILD and A MAN CALLED BLESSED. Don’t know that I even ever heard of those. Thanks for sharing, writing, and caring.
I’m so happy that we’re still friends, after all these years out of college…getting older is no fun! While I enjoyed the supernatural themes of Frank Peretti’s novels, one has to really put on one’s thinking hat & imagination hat on to envision all the goings on in the supernatural world of his stories. One book that really rocked my world was “The Presence” by Davis Bunn. Lots of supernatural power but not science fiction genre. Love you, Donna & thanks for sharing!