Monday, March 14, 2011

They can't say YES...

if you don't send it out. 

Rejection can be so discouraging.  We read the single page letter or the curt email dismissing the epic we have poured our soul into and we are crushed.  Despite the encouraging, "It's a delightful story." or "You're a gifted writer.", we dwell on the "it wasn't right for us" part of the letter. It festers.  We believe it really means 'you can't form a coherent sentence and I tempted to fold your manuscript into origami cranes and set them on fire.' 

The rejected manuscript is carefully tucked away under the bed to collect dust mites.  And it sits. Occasionally we slide it out and brush away the dust and contemplate sending it out again. 

But we don't because 'maybe we should write the first chapter, so it's catchier' or 'maybe there should be a subplot with a singing dolphin' or 'maybe the whole thing needs to be rewritten.'

The problem is we'll never know whether this manuscript is good enough if it's collecting dust under the bed.  Sure, sending it out could mean more rejection, more people saying 'no, not for us.'

There are hundreds of stories of writers submitting manuscripts ten, twenty, even forty (raising my hand here) times before it is accepted.  There also stories of writers getting contracts offers on their first submission.  Everyone's story is different, but they all include one thing.  The writer had the courage to send their manuscript out.  

Because an editor or an agent can't say YES unless they can read the manuscript. 


Anonymous said...

Great post Joselyn! The first thing they teach us as writers is to have tough skin (like cement--LOL).

And to never give up (this is huge). If you decide to give up after a few rejections, you'll never know whether or not you had what it takes to "be" a writer. So submit. I have all my rejections I've ever received. One, it helps me to see the progress I made, and two, it motivates me to want to get better.

I think we need to be prepared for the long haul, so if it ends up taking less time it's a bonus...

Theresa Grant said...

Okay, you got me on all counts here (although I still think a singing dolphin might have jazzed up my manuscript). Thanks for making me send it out!

Joselyn Vaughn said...

T- Kitty would then have to shoot the singing dolphin instead of the werewolf. Sounds risky to me. :-)So glad you sent it out.

Rebekah - I like your idea of being in it for the long haul. Rejections are just another step in the road.