Writing can be a hard thing for a number of reasons. Even after we’ve got past all the actual writing and editing and finally have a finished product, it doesn’t get easier. There’s all the query material, the finding of agents, and of course the waiting. Damn, the waiting.
The places and people that give you a time frame for you to wait are few and far between. The number of responses you receive are only marginally higher than that. Normally, it’s just a form rejection, which is understandable given the load of stories agents have to go through. It might be easy to think that even adding a brief line should only take a moment but that’s an easy rabbit hole to fall down, and keeping on top of things is too important. As someone who’s worked in many fast paced work environments, it’s something I sympathise with.
That doesn’t mean getting a form rejection is easy. It’s never easy and it’s never fun, though I certainly appreciate not being left hanging.
The real jewel in the sea of sadness that is publishing rejections is the personalised rejection. So rare it may as well be mythical and carrying the same heavy weight of all the usual rejections, but with a glimmer of hope scattered across its surface. A kind word about the rejected piece is all it takes to turn the discouragement of the rejection into something far more. A clue as to why a piece was rejected can transform the hollow feeling of “I’m just not good enough” into something constructive and tangible that can be worked on. That one simple act can turn the whole thing around.
Being rejected always sucks, but acceptance letters aren’t the only ones that can bring a little happiness and motivation.
There was no post yesterday because I intended to make a far longer and more detailed post about my last two weeks. I’ve been flip flopping back and forth but I don’t think the time is right or that I’m ready. Needless to say, I’m going through Some Stuff and have been working with my therapist on some things that are getting twitch-inducingly close to the root of my issues. After several years of trying to get help, to finally be on the right track is great – and way scarier than I was ready for.
Why am I waffling about this on a writing blog?
Mental health affects everything – especially the stuff we don’t want it to. People who have followed this blog for a long time will be sick and tired of hearing about me being “ready to query” or “so close to querying” or “just this left to do!” This has literally been going on for years. Years! It probably came as very little surprise to everyone after the third or fourth time when it was revealed that the Great Querying Event never actually happened. The most frustrating thing for me though was why did it never happen? I was ready. Have been ready. For a long time. It turns out though that there was a very specific mental health thing holding me back.
That thing has been identified. My therapist wants to try treating it with exposure therapy and asked what we should start with. Sod it, I thought, this has been going on too long. Querying has always been such a huge mental blockage for me, especially for this novel. Was choosing something this big a terrible place to start my healing journey? Or did I really need to do something drastic to kick start this process? Honestly, it feels like I did the right thing, even if it’s been a very, very difficult process.
I did it. I sent the query. I have a list of next-up agents for when the rejects come back. Sometimes, you just need to take your life advice from the wise Jake Perulta*.
*I would not recommend this as a regular occurrence.