Monday, October 24, 2011


I hope you'll all enjoy this post from last year before my first contract. Now that my office is nearly done, I can put up some of those rejections to reflect on how far I've come and how far I have to go. I hope you can relate:

At some point, we’ve all said it.
I mean to do it. The day I receive a contract to publish one of my novels, I am going to paper my office with the rejections. And since I have such a large stockpile of “paper”, I can be discriminating.

:( I’ve kept the rejections in binders. :(

That way, I can go back and (torture myself), no, read the encouraging notes, which helped me, as well as the form letters which did little to "form" me on my path to publication. They came in an array of sizes, shapes, and colors.

Now, years later, working as an editorial assistant to Terry Burns, my agent, I begin to understand why and how the rejections are given out. Many writers, just like myself, are so close for so long. Just a bit more work and the novel would be accepted, but in our haste to “get the next bestseller out there” we cut corners, don’t study the craft sufficiently, don’t wait for the right moment to approach an agent or editor. And, unfortunately, burn a lot of bridges in the process.

Just like sadness is the only way to understand joy, rejection is the only way to appreciate acceptance. If it were handed to us on the proverbial silver platter, would we be grateful for the gift or merely nurse a feeling of entitlement?

Ahem, I know myself. Had I been published years ago, I would never have honed my craft and been able to help others do the same. Plus, I would have put 400 pages of garbage into a book which would no doubt have eventually found itself on the shelves of some dollar or .99 store.

But you’re convinced your baby is ready to walk. “Mom said it was the best story she’d ever read!” Of course she did. She’s mom. But an agent or editor doesn’t give a flying rat’s patoot what mom, or Aunt Jenny, or Uncle Jebb, or even the crotchety neighbor next door thinks. They KNOW what the public is reading, and what the public expects. They don’t tell you these things to hurt your feelings (okay, I know a couple who might) but rather, to lift you up to a point where you will work harder at your craft to be able to bring it into the public arena one day.

The hardest lesson God has been trying to teach me for 60 years (yes, I said sixty!) is to have patience. I know you don't want to hear this, but God’s timing isn’t always our timing. Even when we’re in panic mode, He’s looking at the Big Picture, not the grain of sand we call life.

Well, I’m preaching to the choir, folks, as I pick out which of the lovely shades of recycled gray, green, or blue to use on the north wall, just behind the computer. After all, that’s the one I’ll be looking at the most often when I sit down to write, rewrite, and rewrite some more.

Good luck, may God’s blessings pour over your work, but ‘til they do, remember, in your patience, you’re learning something wonderful.

And isn’t that what life is all about?


Cheryl Linn Martin said...

Take a picture of your office once you've papered it, Linda!!

Thanks for the encouragement. The path really is hard, but God uses all those ups and downs to place exactly where He wants us. Thanks, too, for your never-ending support, Linda!

Timothy Fish said...

I don't look at rejections more than I just have to. I would like to think there is something to learn from them, but most agents and editors don't take the time to provide meaningful feedback on a project they aren't interested in. Even the more encouraging letters have the appearance of being form letters.

Fan letters are a whole different story, through I try not to read to much into them either. I love hearing from people who were moved in some way by something I wrote. But I don't think I would paper a room with even those. There is danger in spending too much time in the past.

Praise of previous work doesn't mean current work is good. Criticism of previous work doesn't mean current work is bad. We have to be able to look at our own work and know whether it is good or bad.

Sharon A. Lavy said...

I'm with Cheryl. I want to see a picture of your office!

Patty Wysong said...

I'm always telling myself "God's will in God's way in God's time." Waiting is hard but worthwhile. (remind me when I whine)

Linda Glaz said...

I can agree with you a bit, Timothy, but I disagree that we can always look at our work and know if it's good or bad. I think we have to sometimes step back and listen to others, as that is how all of us learn in the first place. Or should...and learning is something that goes on our entire lives.

Terri Tiffany said...

Thank you for this! I keep thinking I am getting so old to be trying and btw, you don't look 60 at all!!! So I just finished my 6th book and plan to take my time, not rush it out there and pray I won't get too many rejections.