Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Don't Shoot the Messenger by Diana Flegal

It is difficult to hear that the manuscript you labored over and birthed has been rejected. Or to meet with your critique partners only to see their red ink bleeding all over the pages of your best efforts.

But the worst thing you can do is shoot the messenger.

This past weekend I had the privilege of teaching at a Mini-Fiction Workshop at the Anderson Library, Anderson, SC. organized by Elva Cobb Martin.

One of the workshops I delivered was First Lines, First Pages. Authors brought the first pages of their work in progress. (WIP). We read them and let the authors know if we would read on, and if not- we made suggestions that might better 'hook' their reader.

I reminded them that the author of THE HELP, Kathryn Stockett, had faced rejection 61 times before her title was accepted and published. That is a lot of rejection and yet Kathryn did not quit. And I am glad she did not. Her literary voice is one I am thankful to know.

Yesterday was the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg address. In reading Matthew Pinsker's article, I smiled to learn that Lincoln wrote several drafts of his speech. So many that they can not be absolutely sure which version was the one read so long ago. After his speech, many requests were made for copies. Each one was originally penned by hand by President Lincoln, known for rewrites and self editing.

"That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved."
Ralph Waldo Emerson from the

I'm sure Kathryn Stockett's first page in her published book, was not at all the same as the first page she began with. She took the suggestions and rejections to heart, made the needed and necessary improvements, and ended up with a bestseller.
So rather than let your words slip down the drain, or blame others for your rejections; revise, rewrite and retry.
When you wear the flower of impatience in your heart instead of the flower of acceptance with joy, you will always find your enemies get an advantage over you."
Hannah Hurnard wrote in Hinds Feet in High Places- spoken to much afraid as she battled her enemies discouragement and despair.

Never give up on your dreams. With every journey round the mountain, you will find hinds feet growing until you will leap over every obstacle with ease.


Kristen Bratton said...

I loved this Diana. Hinds Feet in High Places is one of my favorites and has been used to help me avoid spiritual pitfalls more than any other work of fiction. I guess I've seen this writing journey as "separate" from the rest of my journey somehow, but I'm not sure why. With every rejection, I'll think of how her two companions were transformed in then end. But in the writing journey, instead of "sorrow" and "suffering" we have "constructive criticism" and "finding out our seventh draft still isn't the final draft". I guess the writer's version of holding their hands would be saluting our editors and stoically shouting "Thank you sir! I'd like another!"
Thanks for posting this.

Elaine Miller said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I handle rejection by fixing my eyes on the ONE Who will never reject me and asking Him for direction. His timing is perfect and that brings me peace.

Happy Thanksgiving, Hartline!
Elaine W. Miller

Anonymous said...

Very nice visual aids Diana! Happy Thanksgiving, Max

Davalyn Spencer said...

Great, encouraging post, Diana. Just what I needed. Thanks so much.

Diana said...

Glad it was helpful Words can be powerful in helping so many, just like Hinds Feet has been.

Happy Thanksgiving all. :-)