Today’s guest post, brought to you by author Steena Holmes and the good people at Women on Writing (WOW), is on a topic that is, unfortunately, near and dear to my heart: rejection. I’ve not been doing this writing thing for very long, and I knew it wouldn’t be all sunshine and roses, with an insta-bestseller pouring out of me and agents and publishers lined up for miles, begging to let them shower me with money and contracts. I knew it wouldn’t. Really. But still…
I’ve read about how Stephen King threw Carrie in the trash, how he got years of rejection letters, how his wife saved the day (and the manuscript) – and thank god for all that, because I do love me some classic King horror. I wasn’t really looking forward to that experience though. I knew I’d have to get a lot of nos before I got any yesses, didn’t expect that everyone would love everything I write. But I didn’t think the rejections would sting quite so much either. And they do. Believe me. And I have a lot of them. Believe me again. And those are just for the short stories – I haven’t even gotten to the novel(s) yet. If it hurts to have someone tell you that the 4000 word story you spent a week or so on isn’t good enough for publication, I can only imagine the joys in store when I hear multiple someones tell me the same thing about the 75,000+ opus I spent a year or more on… Blech.
So needless to say, yeah, rejection is hot on my mind – as is how to deal with it and not let it bury me in hills of self-doubt. Well, thank goodness for Steena Holmes! As a part of her ongoing blog tour for her new novel Finding Emma (a story about a mother’s quest to find her missing child at all costs), Steena has graciously offered to share her thoughts on not only dealing with rejection but actually using it to improve your own work – and your attitude about that work. Thanks to Steena for this – personally and professionally – and to Robyn at Women on Writing for including me in the blog tour!
Without further ado, I bring you author Steena Holmes!
USING REJECTION TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
by Steena Holmes
If there is one thing writers need to be prepared for its rejections. They have a way of twisting our hearts until we begin to doubt ourselves, our dreams, our goals, our passions. Rejection has a way of hitting us at the core and if we’re not careful, it can destroy that dream we hold so dear. But, we all know they are a part of this journey we’re pursuing towards publication. It doesn’t matter where you are on this journey, from newbie writer to published author, we are all going to experience rejection at one point or another.
I’d like to suggest that advice is wrong. So wrong that you need to toss it on the floor, stomp on it a few times then throw it in the trash.
Remember how excited you were when you finished your novel? Received your first request? Why is one emotional high different from another? Trust me, when you receive that rejection – whether the first or the hundredth – the emotional high is going to be there.
Have a pity party for yourself. Let it last an hour, an afternoon or even a day. As long as you realize that once you start this little pity party, there has to be an end date. Bring out those large soup bowels and buy your favorite ice cream. Find a friend to share with you or ask for pity on twitter. You’ll get it, I guarantee that – cause we’ve all been there. It’s even okay to have self-doubts. If you didn’t, I’d be a bit worried. It’s okay. Question your writing, your passion, your desire, your drive. It’s like going through the haunted house at the carnival and grabbing the hand of the person in front of you or behind you so fast you don’t even think about the fact that person might be a stranger or your best friend. You don’t care, cause they’ve become your lifeline, another person who has travelled the same path as you and understands.
Go for it. I double-dog dare you!
There’s a reason to my maddness. Trust me. When that pity party is over, when the bowl has been licked clean and you realize you can’t stomach any more doubt, I guarantee you’ll realize something.
That you are a writer at heart. That your passion is so important that you won’t allow one pizzly little rejection take you down. Sure, having your favorite agent tell you they didn’t like your voice will hurt. But you’re tough, you can handle it. Reading the 1-star reviews on amazon and goodreads has me raiding my secret chocolate stash all the time, until I realized I needed to stop reading the reviews of those who didn’t enjoy my book and instead write another for those who did.
The strongest steel is forged in fire. For a writer, rejection is our fire. You will never become a better writer if you ignore the rejections and keep doing what you’ve been doing. It’s like a never ending circle. You won’t face the rejections, so you won’t allow yourself to even try. You continue to write, rewrite and rewrite some more. Then you’ll start on a new project – all without having taken the steps to allow yourself to be forged.
Don’t ignore the rejections when they come in. Don’t hit delete or throw the paper in the recycling. But don’t dwell on it either. Sure, have your pity party. You’re allowed. You’ve put in thousands of hours perfecting your craft. Realize that with every rejection comes greater strength. Take that rejection and let it fuel your fire.
Do it. I double-dog dare you! And then drop me a line so I can come along beside you on your journey and be one of your biggest supporters!
- First Prize: Work with a Bestselling Author.
- Our Grande Prize winner will help create a character for Steena Holmes’ next book!
- Second and Third Prize Winners will each receive a signed copy of Finding Emma and a special pewter angel figurine from The Missing Children’s Society of Canada, an organization dedicated to bringing children home.
Author of the new heart wrenching story “Finding Emma”, Steena is a woman who believes that ‘in the end, everything succumbs…to the passions of your heart’. Steena’s life revolves around her family, friends and fiction.