Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Keep on sailing

Rejection is part of the publishing process. Tell us your most memorable rejections—whether it be from queries, agents, editors, or reviewers. Anything from  your funniest to your most devastating (and how you recovered), and anything in between.

I can't tell  you much about my rejections, as I tend to forget them pretty fast. Well, I guess I forget everything pretty fast, the wins and the loses. 
But some memories remain. I do have a vague recollection of standing by the mail box, reading a letter and then crushing it into the tightest wad my hands could manage, and then crying hard.
I also remember the editor at a small publishing house who expressed interest in my novel - my first taste of success. He asked for the whole ms. I sent it in. Silence. After what felt like a year of intolerable waiting I emailed him politely asking for the status of my submission. His acidic reply shocked me. I replied back telling him to just shred the ms in that case. He replied back saying gladly. And that was that.
I confess that to this day I remember his name, and he remains one of my top motivators. Just being good isn't enough -- I want to be great. I want my name to be on marquees, so that he'll see it, and remember me, and go, oh damn.
It's just a bit of fantasy of sweet revenge -- I think I share it with most people who go out on a limb and face rejection. Also I have to say I'm damn lucky that book didn't get published then. It was far from ready. 
To recover from rejection, besides fast forgetfulness and maybe a drink or two, I use perspective: Things could be so much worse. I could be sick, dying. I could have been born an ant. Could have been born a serf in the middle ages. Instead I'm here in this more or less enlightened place and time, where ordinary people can push for their dreams to come true, so might as well take advantage of it and keep pushing.
I also take comfort in the stories of other writers who have faced the pain of rejection, and there's no end to those. And as corny as it sounds, I try to be the best I can be, so that when rejection happens, I can say what Jack Nicholson said, playing Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest:
"But I tried, didn't I? Goddamnit, at least I did that."

This is my last post on this fabulous group blog. I've had a really good time, have learned a lot, and will miss the twice-a-month challenge of answering the question of the day.
Upcoming... Spring 2019!! 
If only I had double the hours per day, I'd happily carry on. Right now I've got a book to write, though, and it's due at the end of November, and if I don't do my very best with it ... well, you know. I won't be able to quote McMurphy.
So thank you to all my fellow minds and all those who have been reading along, and a warm welcome to my upcoming replacement. 
Take care, all.


Paul D. Marks said...

Well, things can always be worse, RM :-) .

Sorry to see you go. It's been great having you here. Maybe you'll come back and visit sometimes.


Lyda McPherson said...

Good Morning Rachel: I have enjoyed your posts to the blog and I'm going to miss you. Thank you. I wish you much success with the WIP. And, especially, thank you for reminding me that the goal is indeed "But I tried...at least I did that." I hope you'll check in from time to time. Good luck

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Rachel - super post, as always, and thanks for all the posts you've shared with us - we'll miss you. Wishing you all the very best with the "proper writing" :-)

Susan C Shea said...

We'll miss you big time but please tap me if you'd like to guest post when that new book comes out (or before)!

Unknown said...

Thank you Paul, Cathy, Susan - I'll be following along, so no mean comments about me. And any time you need a break, let me know - chances are I'll be yearning to pipe up again.

Thank you for your well wishes, Lyda :) I've enjoyed your comments too, and yes for sure I'll be checking in.


Terry said...

Good luck! Sorry you're going, but we keep an eye on you anyway.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Terry :)

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Sorry to see you go, Rachel. I'll miss reading your posts.