So this week I got another big “R”. The bane of writers. Yep, a rejection. Ba da – da da. (That was supposed to be that ominous music.)
This particular manuscript has been bumping around for over 2 years. It has been written, rewritten and edited by several beta readers. It has been through several agents. One of them calling me on the phone to request the full manuscript. (That was an exciting day.) And it has been rejected by countless editors.
There was a time when rejections really bothered me. They caused a setback that could keep me from writing for days. But that’s not the case anymore. I’m sure it has more to do with the fact that I am published. I don’t feel that desperation I once felt to get my writing out there. It’s out there. I’m writing stories I know will find a home.
But this story? It’s a goooood story. It’s different from what I usually write. It’s not erotic romance. It’s a romantic suspense that includes a mysterious FBI agent and a stalker and a couple of murders and … really, I just love this story. I want it to find a good home with someone who will love it as much as I do.
But this rejection has made me sit back and re-evaluate the story. There’s something missing. Something that isn’t quite right about it. I’ve learned a lot about writing. More than I knew when I first sat down to pen this manuscript and even more since it had its first rewrite.
So I’m not bummed. (Okay, that’s a totally lie … I was completely disappointed when I got this rejection, but I’m over it.) I see this as a challenge to pull the manuscript apart. Look at it scene by scene and really see if my writing is up to snuff. After the rejection an editor/author offered to take a look at it and gave me some very valuable feedback about the beginning … too slow. Yeah, I was married to a prologue that needs to go.
Which then begs the question … what else needs to go? What else needs to be tightened? Wow, now instead of being bummed out that my baby was rejected I’m now being challenged. Challenged to mine the beauty of a diamond from the rough story sitting before me. Challenged to throw out the sagging scenes that slow the pace. Challenged to step up and make this story the best writing I’ve ever done.
Wow. That’s a totally different mind set than thinking I’m not good enough or that this story will never find a home. I’m finishing up another story and when that’s sent out I’m sitting down with this manuscript and tearing out all the dull scenes and rewriting until it shines.
Then it’s right back into the world with it. Because if I don’t keep sending it out, this book I love so much will never find its way to readers.
So now, I’m curious … how do you handle rejections? Do they depress or motivate or perhaps a little of both?