I’ve always been jealous of retired teachers who have taught in the same city for 30 to 40 years, and have former students come up to them, remembering them. We’ve moved around too much for that to have happened to me. But today there is the Internet. That changes the entire game. Or can.
A former student contacted me via Facebook. She asked if I was the Sandy Carlson who taught in her elementary school when she was in second grade. She was so impressed that I had a story published in Cricket Magazine that it inspired her to write. In high school, she finished her first novel. She has since finished college and has a job about 2000 miles from our school where we first met. And years ago, my husband and I moved about 1000 miles away from our school in a different direction.
Again, Yay for the Internet! And…boo for the Internet. Her message to me was buried for five years. (Shaking my bowed head in shame.) The good news is she is still interested in writing and still excited about her one particular book even after her one reject.
I suggested some newbie-writer things to her, like attending a writers conference, joining a critique group, not fretting over a rejection, and then I asked if she wanted to exchange three chapters with me (as author equals), that I would be willing. She is. We will.
I remember Moriah as an intelligent and observant child. I can’t wait to read her grownup chapters. Yay for the Internet.
I had it last week. I only realized it when I had a whole day to work on revisions and didn’t even want to look at a computer. The killer was when I realized I was chucking my to-do list, but didn’t even want to do something fun, like read for pleasure. Red flags whipped in my mind’s wind and I thought: What in the world would make me feel so limp? Then I remembered the two rejections over the past two weeks.
Oh, potatoes! I have TeReDeSy!
The acronym almost flows off of your tongue when you speak it as if it were some fancy-dancy word. I wish it were as easy to flow off of my emotional body. But that is the trick to being a writer, both clinging to those emotions and hating them. For strong emotions are essential for good writing, but the same strong emotions in real life can send said author on a stomach-leaving roller-coaster ride.
Part of the healthy recovery plan is knowledge and acceptance of the problem. “Hi. My name is Sandy. I was rejected.” (You all chime in with a “Hi, Sandy.”) Then I cuddle in the circle with my writer friends, and remember that Star Wars was rejected by every major Hollywood Studio; Gone with the Wind was rejected 67 times; and Jane Yolen, author of more than 300 children’s books, continues to get rejections.
An important knowledge point is to remember that the first and major word of the acronym is “temporary.”
Remember the rejection feeling. Use it with your characters (e.g., KeeKee didn’t get the role she wanted in the school play; Robroy struck out and his team consequently lost; Myst told Jake she loved him, and then he walked away from her).
Join me fellow writers, in putting our right hands on top of each other, and lifting them together with a cry of “BACK TO WRITING!”
P.S. Yes, I made up that acronym – TeWrDeSy. After all, I’m a fiction writer. It’s my privilege to do so. I have tons more Sandy-Vocabulary which I have used often enough that even my literal, focused hubby has learned how to understand my language.
I’ve only known one author who never got rejected (Barb Yirka, aka Anne Barbour). She was an avid regency romance reader, then wrote two chapters for a contest and won the book contract award. Outside of this highly unusual situation (and wonderful person), most writers need to expect rejections from agents and editors and sometimes even fellow writers (although we writers tend to be more gentle).
A recent newsfeed led me to a study done on rejection and that social rejections (e.g., relationships; but this could be extended to writers, too, you know) cause actual physical pain to the one rejected. It makes you think, doesn’t it? Well, it makes ME think. Here’s the link:
So why do we writers do this again?
I’m thinking that our submissions is like going through the pains of dating and breaking up… until… we find THE ONE. Here’s to every writer’s love relationship (with editor, agent, readers). May it be true and happily ever after lasting.