I say yes, and this is why . . .
Almost three years ago, I made the decision to accomplish something I'd wanted to do for years--write a book. For six months, I wrote about 500 words/day, five days/week. Every night I sat down to write, I fought feelings of frustration and self-doubt. I knew nothing about all the wonderful writer resources out there on the Internet; it was just me and my un-trusty (read: ancient) laptop. I simply prayed every night for the determination to finish. And when I finally did, I felt on top of the world. I wrote a book. I WROTE A BOOK! I was so proud of myself, because not only did I have a completed novel in my hands, but a half-way decent one (well, you know, according to my mom and best friend ;). So, I decided to try my hand at getting it published. I did all my research, wrote queries and synopses, and started contacting agents. For months, I queried, revised, and learned, and learned, and learned. Shortly after sending out my 100th query, I decided it was time to move on. Despite numerous edits, I knew my ms needed more TLC than I could give it at that time.
I look back, and knowing what I know now, I realize that first manuscript was nowhere near ready to query. I was that writer. The writer agents are referring to when they say, "Make sure your ms is in the best shape possible before sending it!" I even remember one rejection I got in the mail from a partial I had sent to an agent. He sent back the first page, marked up to high heaven in red ink, and in his letter, he wrote, "Although I was interested in the storyline, I just wasn't taken enough with the writing or narrative, I'm afraid. It didn't have that extra sparkle I look for." OUCH! I think we all have certain rejections that stand out in our minds, and for me, that is the one. As much as it killed me to read that, it was the swift kick in the rear I needed. My next manuscript was that much better because of that rejection and all the others I received.
The experience of writing and querying that first manuscript was probably one of the most incredible learning experiences of my life, and I don't regret one moment of it. So for those of you who are in the middle of querying or the submission process, take comfort in knowing that even though you're frustrated beyond belief (and maybe even a bit heartbroken), you are learning and growing as a writer. This is NOT all in vain. If you don't get that agent or book deal, it'll not have been a waste of time. Keep up the fight. Keep pushing and climbing. Like they say, if you don't give up, you can't fail.
Boy do I need to hear this, time and again. The task feels so daunting I wonder if it is really worth it. Someday I will get there, I just have to keep working and improving myself. Thanks for the encouragement!ReplyDelete
I totally believe you'll get there, Jen :) It's almost as if we have to jump through a certain number of hoops before we get there, but when we do, it'll all be worth (as least, that's what I hear ;)Delete
I was looking through old shorter pieces to send to journals and I came across some early writing that, at the time, I couldn't understand why it hadn't been published. And now--Yikes! I cringe when reading it! I've learned so much in the intervening years. Getting rejections is definitely all part of the learning process. Great post!ReplyDelete
Isn't it amazing? I remember when I received that rejection (mentioned above); I was so depressed! I thought that was my BEST writing, and that I couldn't get any better. Ha! What a silly newb I was ;)Delete
Any word written, read by someone else or not, is worth it. Every one of them is part of our journey to becoming a better writer.ReplyDelete
AMEN! And every ounce of criticism--no matter how heartbreaking at the time--makes us a better writer in the long run :-)Delete
Well-said, my dear!ReplyDelete