Thursday, 29 January 2009

Writing Trials and Tribulations: Dealing with The Rejection (Part 1)

Writing matters--and honesty about the life of a writer--are the main raison d’ être for the existence of this blog. This is because I am a writer, first and foremost, (although my life is full of many other things, as evidenced by the disparate nature of previous entries here). So today I am going to address one of the trials and tribulations all writers--professional or otherwise--face at many points in their writing lives. The Rejection. And let me tell you a brutal truth here: however many times you go through this, it never gets any easier to deal with and you always feel like a 'failure' as a writer when it happens. Whether this is for five seconds, five minutes, five hours, five days or forever is entirely up to you.

Imagine the scene: your piece of work (novel, story, picture book) is either finished or in a suitable state to be sent off to the Lovely Editor. You send it. You wait. Perhaps you wait a long time (months), perhaps you are lucky and it's shorter (weeks). You are hopeful. Of course you are hopeful. You've worked hard. It's an exciting new idea. You love it. You want to write more of it. Visions of cover art and literary kudos fill your brain with fantasies. And then the email answer pops into your inbox at last. Your heart starts to beat faster in fear and anticipation. Will it be good news? Your finger hovers over the 'open' icon. You press it.

Your heart sinks to the floor with a bump. It's not good news. The Lovely Editor has all sorts of really excellent commercial reasons for not taking this one. But right at first you don't want to know about those. This is because you are sunk in misery and mourning for all those hours and days and months wasted. You are grieving for a literary child which will not now be born--at least not in this form, (though you may cannibalise bits of it for some future but as yet unimaginable project). Rejection hurts, has a physical effect on the body (in my case), of sickness and aching and sleepless sadness. And at the edges, a sort of bleak, despairing frustration and anger too. It's not good to stuff all this emotion away. It needs to be let out; looked at; dealt with, or it will fester and turn to resentment.* But tomorrow--tomorrow will be another day--a day for moving forward. Come back then for Part 2, when I'll (hopefully) have rediscovered how to do that.
* A judicious amount of very dark chocolate is a fine remedy for resentment and grief and a myriad other mental and physical ills, I find. This has been scientifically proven. I forget where I read this useful fact. But it is true.


Mary said...

Oh no! Will write privately

Anne Rooney said...

ditto :-(

It's true about the chocolate - it speeds up release of endorphins. So have lots xx

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