Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Big R by Cindi Madsen

We’re not talking about that store where you can buy rope, tools, or cowboy boots. Wait, I don’t have any cowboy boots. It’s not really my look, but if new shoes are involved . . . Where was I again? Oh right. The Big R. Rejection. If you attended conference, you probably came away feeling amazing, like you could do anything. Maybe even got the “send it” from an agent or editor. So what do you do when the amazing feeling wears off and, after applying everything you learned at conference, you still get rejected? You cry into your bucket of ice cream while wearing the boots you decided you did need. Or is that just me?

The thing about rejection is, it’s impossible not to take it personal. Many writers are known as being reclusive. So we put our characters in the spotlight. If readers like them—and there’s no greater feeling—our characters get all the love. But if someone doesn’t like them, our characters aren’t the ones who end up depressed and feeling like they’re not good enough. Nope. That honor goes to the writer. All the rejection, none of the glory. It can sometimes wear you down.

Rejection is part of the business, and it happens to everyone. Even published authors get scathing reviews. Just remember, there are so many different opinions out there. What one agent or editor hates, another might love. Books I think are the best-thing-ever get bad reviews, and books I don’t care for are raved about. So take a day or two, brush yourself off (maybe even work off some of that ice cream) and keep going. Look at your work and see what you can improve. Is your opening strong enough? Get reader and critique feedback. Or maybe it’s time to start on another project and apply all you’ve learned to a new book. The sure way to never get published is to stop trying. So keep going, polishing, learning. Every draft or new manuscript will be stronger. That doesn’t mean it’ll suddenly be easier when another rejection letter comes, but we do this because we love it. Even if it doesn’t always love us back.      

About Cindi Madsen: I'm a writer. I sit at my computer every chance I get, plotting, revising, and falling in love with my characters. Sometimes this makes me a crazy person. Without it, I'd be even crazier. I have way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they're sparkly, colorful, or super tall. I live in Colorado with my husband and three children.

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