I’ve been a slack blogger.
I can make all sorts of excuses about being busy, and they’d even be true, but the deeper truth is, I’ve been low. I blog more when I feel good, full of energy, when things are going right in my life. when I’m feeling bleah, just getting through what I have to feels like a hard enough slog, without adding pressure to blog too! Part post-rejection-downer. Part frustration with how expensive and slow the writing shed transformation has – it’s stopped being fun and become hard slog- especially now I’ve added a deadline for completion to the mix. Part dealing with sick cat/ MiL 45 minutes drive away with health issues/ Dad 10,000 miles away with health issues. Part resentment at having to lose (hopefully only temporarily) my lovely part-time Day Job situation so soon after I experienced how wonderful it is, because they haven’t been able to replace a colleague at work who leaves next week.
Anyway, all that’s another blog post. Today’s post is by my amazing critique partner and debut Entangled author, Robyn Thomas. We can learn so much about perseverance, never giving up, and dealing with rejection from her example. Robyn is not only a wonderful person, she writes wonderfully, and has a very different writing process to mine. She’s one of those perfectionist writers who works hard at getting it right first time. She won’t move on until she’s happy with what she has, so she produces beautifully polished first draft. I loved her first published story, His Unexpected Family, when I read it in its original version. I know just how much time and effort it. That story was worth publishing, I thought, as it was. I couldn’t see how it could be better. Yet to read the final published version, I’m blown away. It’s awesome. Somehow, she made an already beautiful story even better, by sticking with it through rejections and three and a half rounds of edits.
When I feel like giving up, I think of her. How hard she works. How she writes in fragments of time snatched from her busy family life. And how worth it the results are.
So it’s over to Robyn-
Thanks so much to my dear Sassy Sister, Autumn, for inviting me here today to talk about rejections and perseverance.
I’m a huge believer in getting back on the horse after you’ve been thrown off, but there are times when it’s beneficial to stop and think before you leap back into action. Very few people have a smooth journey to publication, and most writers will be faced with one rejection after another at some point. The thing to remember is that it’s normal, and no matter how overwhelming it seems, other writers WILL understand. They’ll offer advice and support, and do what they can to help you find your feet again, but the big decision – quit or continue – is yours alone.
The possibility of giving up altogether usually looks good in the initial phase of a rejection. It’s easy, doable, and will get you off the rollercoaster. But it will also cost you your dream. To paraphrase a line from Matt Damon’s character in The Adjustment Bureau: “It’s not whether or not you get knocked down; it’s what you do when you get back up.”
Deciding to stick with writing and try again is the difficult choice because it means you’ll be vulnerable to more rejections in the future. Don’t dwell on it, but do what you can to minimise the risks. Try to see not just where you went wrong, but also what you got right. In my opinion it’s just as important to build on your strengths as it is to remedy your weaknesses.
Looking back at my own journey to publication, I can see that I made some awful (purely emotional) decisions after rejections. At one time or another I tried almost everything you could think of to put rejections into perspective, to learn from them, ignore them or embrace them. I went from taking every word to heart, to taking the liberty of rejecting-the-rejection (in spirit only.) I stuffed things in the bottom drawer, mortified that I ever thought they had merit, and I sent others straight back out to another publisher without changing a word. I rewrote projects from scratch in the hope of bringing them back from the dead, and I moved on to shiny new projects instead. I built myself up, cut myself down, believed, doubted, and struggled to find a workable balance between carrying on immediately and pausing long enough to take stock and avoid repeating my mistakes.
Writing is tough sometimes and rewarding other times, but if you love what you do then you’ll find a way to reconcile the ups and downs. If you don’t give up, and if you’re willing to learn, you’ll prevail against rejections. I know this for sure because I’ve tested the theory. I’m happy to report that I now have three books contracted with Entangled.
Do you have any tricks to help you through rejections? I like to start with as many of the following at once as I can possibly manage: a bubble bath, fragrant candles, chocolate, sappy music, a cream cake, a favourite movie on DVD, and a glass of wine. That combo inevitably leads to an early night, and things generally appear brighter the next day.
Sometimes you have to take the leap…again.
Newly widowed with a new baby, Ren Jamieson is putting her life back together after her thrill-seeking husband’s death. But when she’s called to show a high-end property to a prospective client—a commission she desperately needs—she meets a man who makes her pulse pound like nothing she’s ever known…
Cole Matthews is more than he seems. Real estate is only part of the reason he’s in Australia – the other is to see Ren, and make amends somehow for the life lost. The last thing Cole expects is a woman whose humor, sweetness and sexiness give him a rush greater than any he’s ever experienced…
Torn between her growing feelings for Cole and the risks of loving yet another adventurer, Ren will have to choose between keeping her feet on the ground…and taking the most dangerous leap of her life.
Read the first chapter free: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/his-unexpected-family/
Robyn believes that romance and fairytales are the best ingredients to work with because they go with absolutely everything. Inspiration is everywhere she looks. She remembers making the decision to write her first book, but since then writing has become more of a compulsion than a choice. It’s less about having complete silence, a gorgeous work space, a free hour or two, and a steaming hot coffee, and more about getting her fingers to the keyboard any chance she gets. The coffee does help, though.
She lives in Melbourne with her wonderful husband and two sons. Writing romance helps to balance the effects of living in an all-male household. She loves to cook, hates to clean up, and keeps very odd hours. Her writing days used to be solitary, but they’re not anymore. Now she has Seven Sassy Sisters online, and their friendship and support is invaluable.