Monday, November 13, 2006

Ruminations on being REJECTORED!

Funny thing is (ok, not really that funny) I come home at the end of the day and The Boy has also gotten a rejection letter. Sigh... good thing he picked up some wine on the way home!

So here are my thoughts on being REJECTORED!:

I wasn't expecting the email today - that was a two week turnaround with the agent being out of town on vacay for a week. And so when I checked my blackberry I was confused. See, I have a history of sorts with this agent. And I don't mean a real history like she's read my stuff. But earlier this year I was casting about trying to figure out what to write and not really gaining any traction. At the new year The Boy and I had instituted our 10 year plan (to live off writing in 10 years) and I wasn't doing much to move my own portion of the plan along.

Then I win a silly contest on this agent's blog which results in an automatic partial read. But I had no partial. And so I sat down and started writing DB&D. I wrote this story because I loved it and I knew from the beginning that it was different. And I really feel like I owe that little push that I needed to the agent. I had a timeline for submitting it to the Agent (we'll give her a capital A now) that I was happy with. But then Agent had an online pitch slam and I couldn't resist. I'd written a big big chunk of rough draft but it was still very very episodic and rough. But out of the many many pitches she got, mine was chosen and I was super excited. And then I had to work my ass off to get the partial edited. This is the most I've ever edited anything and I was damn proud. But I took a looooong time getting it to her because I hadn't finished the book and just didn't know what to do.

See, the downside of working on the partial is that I stalled in actually writing the rest of the book. During the meantime I came up with some really good plot arcs, but all of the sudden there was just so much pressure to FINISH THE BOOK NOW NOW NOW. It was no longer fun. Instead it was just always hanging over my head.

Now, pause here for a moment. I know that when there are book contracts and deadlines that this becomes routine. But see, that's the difference between now and then. Now writing is about writing, enjoying the book. Trying to get sold, sure. But I've come to the realization that once you sell there's so much more to worry about then just the writing. So why not enjoy just the writing while you can?

Anyways, so I felt relief to not have to bust my butt to send off the full. But then I realized that she hadn't even asked for the full. Here was my book - THE ONE - and she didn't even ask for the full. Or comment one way or another.

Ok, now, don't worry. I'm not into rejectomancy (the art of discerning rejections as The Boy calls it) and seriously this is only the first of what will be many. That's the way of the writing life. I'm not going to give up, I'm not going to think that I'm a bad writer or that I can't make it or any of that stuff. The rejection simply means that my project wasn't right for that agent. And honestly, that's not really a surprise.

But here's the thing... I can't be the only writer out there who - just in that moment before sleep - imagines how this submission will be the one to change the world. That this partial will have them all going "WOW!" and that this one will cause the auction, will get the contract, will hit the lists, and will allow you to quit the job and live in luxury. Hey, we're talking about the edge of sleep here where anything can happen. Getting that rejection just puts an end to that particular dream. I'm not saying I'm not going to keep thinking those things because, let's be honest, it's fun to day dream about that stuff.

I've always said that a big part of breaking up with someone is the loss of what could have been. The loss of the daydreams. That's what a rejection is. Doesn't mean you won't date again or find someone much much better. It just means that for a moment you have to learn how to put aside that old dream and look to the newer and better one.

So this Agent didn't ask for more. But I still owe her a huge debt because she got me writing and that is what all of this is about. Now I feel free to finish DB&D on my own time and submit it when it's ready so that I can throw myself behind it full force. I'm even thinking of NOT entering it in the Golden Heart because I'm tired of the constant pressure to GET IT DONE NOW. Don't worry, I plan on getting it done because I think it is great. But I want to - and need to - enjoy it.

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