Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rejection is . . . God's Protection . . .

god is a writerImage by [blu:]skin via Flickr

I've been sitting here trying to slog through an old manuscript of mine, one that I thought I had "finished" last summer, one that I had been heart-broken over it's rejection by my editor a few months ago.

She took six months before calling me and saying "I don't think that this is a good follow-up book for you." Fortunately, at the time, I was knee deep in my WIP (the companion book to EDGES and the one I'm waiting for my agent's editorial letter. Edward, if you are reading this, hint, hint!) and didn't start beating up on the "rejected" one right away.

My editor called to tell me this as I was on my way to the monthly Writers 4 Writers lunch, proving to be the perfect venue for shedding a tear, for these women had all been through it. "What? Send it to another editor!" They all cried. But thoughts immediately went to my grandmother, whose Wrinkle in Time, legend has it, was rejected 17 times! Did she send out the same manuscript over and over again? No, she reworked it each time, and that's what I would do.

But first I had to finish my WIP, hand it into my agent, and move to the suburbs, you know, little things.

So here I am blogging and procrastinating from reading the old manuscript, GRATEFUL that it was rejected. The characters need deepening, it needs restructuring. It's plot driven! Oh the scandal!

Rejection is God's protection - a dorky creed I say to myself to remind me not to take things (too) personally. It also implies that there is a reason for everything, which I believe most of the time, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, you know? Sometimes amazing work is rejected and there's no reason for it. But this manuscript is not amazing, and I know that I can do better, and that I need to keep slogging - I mean writing and working on it as I do on myself.

I don't think that I'm alone in being a writer who has highs and lows regarding their work. I'll have a writing session one day and feel on top of the world about it, and then come back the next day and scratch my head. This was good? So I'm probably just being especially hard and unforgiving of my manuscript, the baby I worked on for a year of my life . . . but what's another year?

And in the meantime I can look forward to the release of EDGES and be proud that I am putting the best work that I can out there. My gratitude list is immense!
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  1. wow - this was really appropriate for me today. i finally wrote about how the agent i was working with decided he couldn't represent my second novel. and so it is. my next next move is...dunno. :) thank you for this.

  2. We writers often feel as though time is against us, as though we must rush through one book after another. Nothing could be further from the truth. I've learned the hard way I need to take my time. A first draft? A year or so. Then away in a drawer for six months, and then, begin again... three years or four, or more...there is no rush. Stories need time to settle down, to compost, to grow their wings in the dark. For a writer, the process is the joy and the reward. Publishing? Another beast altogether. Enjoy this time, Lena, and remember what Anne Lamott said about writers who haven't yet published: "Being a published writer will make them long to be ONLY as mentally ill as they are now. Their current level of obsession and doubt and self-loathing will look like the good old days. Honest." Alas, so true, and I have the scars and therapy bills to prove it. Snort.

  3. Thank you for your comments, Amanda and Lauren. And Lauren, for being there for me when IT happened . . . and it all takes TIME . . . but we have to keep going, it's who we ARE! (I love your snorts!)

  4. Lena,

    Your just in time for this Sunday's reading, one of my favorites..."Now, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen."



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