Being a writer is approximately 92% utter frustration and 8% sheer joy. That’s why you hear about how so many writers were depressed, alcoholics, addicts, and all manner of negative things. In my novel class this past term, one of my classmates and I would always remark after every class how much we hated that we were writers.
It’s such a flustering vocation with little consistency to speak of.
But perhaps the worst part about it is the regular string of rejections that every writer goes through. The literary world is full of rejections and you have to be adept at weathering these rejections in order to get to that 8% of sheer joy.
I say all of this because of my latest rejection (sob story incoming? Not quite… maybe…. let’s hope not). As I have been so happy to point out lately, I have a novel that I’ve submitted to several agents and I am now in the process of practicing patience (alliteration).
Naturally, a few letters came back right away saying that this wasn’t for them. Then more promising ones started coming in, the “I see what you’re going for, but I need more” letters, followed by the delightful “feel free to resubmit if you make revisions.”
Just yesterday, my first wave of agents came to a close as the last agent on my list responded with a no. 100% rejection. That leaves no room for the 8% of sheer joy. And I’m totally okay with that because I am in the midst of massive revisions anyway. But still, each letter telling me that they “weren’t captured” by my writing was kind of deflating.
Now I’m about to turn this optimistic, like when Matt Damon’s shelter on Mars blew up and he rebuilt it to survive.
It’s all part of the process. If every person said yes, it would be far more stressful than if most said no. How would you ever learn? How would you get ahead?
Plus, think of J.K. Rowling. She had Harry Potter rejected by literally everyone. Now it’s the biggest series ever. How do you think those people feel that passed on it?
Rejection totally sucks, but it’s necessary. Kind of like how maggots totally suck and are gross, but without them, nature would look like a bloodbath. Think about what maggots do. Rather then let all of these dead things clog up the world, they clean it up to look like new. A fresh start. A new beginning.
So next time you get rejected, dear writer, remember that maggots will eat away at that rejection and it will disappear. And then you can start again.