A few weeks ago, I got my very first rejection from a publisher.
And I was thrilled.
I’m finally in the club! Every legitimate writer has been rejected—and now, so have I!
The rejection was initially complimentary, and noted a couple of things I had been trying to do with the manuscript were working. What I took from this was that I am capable of writing well enough to be published; this just wasn’t the right story for this editor’s list. I have written this type of response from the other side of the desk, and I respect it. Sometimes there is something intriguing, but it’s just not enough to go all the way.
The reason to pass was not a surprise, and I was grateful that it was a critique I could see and understand. As much as I wanted to send out something absolutely perfect, my agent and I had agreed that the manuscript does have a shot, and I’d gotten it as far as I was going to get it at this stage, for a variety of reasons. It was time to see whether anyone was going to fall in love with it.
Thus far, two editors have not, and I am surprisingly okay with it. It’s easy to say whatever will happen will happen, but it’s a lot harder to legitimately feel that way when things don’t turn out as you’d hoped.
I attribute this to a couple of things:
- A novena to St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers, which helped me gain mature perspective on my life as a writer. The prayer is not explicitly focused on writing, which made it difficult for me to say at first. Over time, I’ve found that because it reaches more broadly, I can better see how writing fits in to the whole of my life.
- My agent knowing not only when the manuscript was ready, but also when I was truly ready to let this one go.
- Encouragement from family and friends who remind me that writing a novel and getting an agent are pretty big deals in themselves (it’s tougher to remember this once you’re on to the next thing).
- Being super excited and slightly intimidated by my next project.
Now, I hope, it’s not too far fetched that sooner or later I’ll make my way into another, more coveted club. There’s a whole lot of hard work between here and there, but it’s work I’m more excited than ever to do.