Importune – definition: to plead or beg persistently
When we submit our work, whether to a publishing house or a magazine, our natural instinct is to silently plead that it is accepted. We make bargains that if we are successful we will do x,y, or z. Then we wait; the hardest part. An email pops up weeks (or even months) later and once again we plead before opening it up and reading the response to our submission.
Rejections are part of the writing life, an occupational hazard you might say. We can sit and feel sorry for ourselves or use them as a learning tool. The latter is harder to do but with persistence it pays off. If we are lucky we received comments on the rejection – these nuggets of advice are worth their weight in gold. Re-work your article or revise your novel – tomorrow is another day and another chance.
I found this great interview on Joanna Penn’s blog,The Creative Penn, which deals with this topic. Pop on over to read it.
As writers we need to develop a thick skin or allow unkind comments to be ‘water’ off a duck’s back – such is today’s word – Caustic – definition: 1) capable of eating away by chemical action : corrosive 2) likely to offend or hurt someone’s feelings.
Submitting our creations to agent’s and publisher’s is daunting enough without the numerous rejection letters we receive back. Some bounce back via email almost immediately, stunning us at the quick reaction but other’s remain in a void for many months. These are possibly harder to cope with as our eternal optimism believes the delay in replying is a positive thing. We imagine our manuscript being read by increasingly important staff on the corporate ladders of the publishing firm. Eventually landing on the CEO’s desk where our creation is read with reverence and pleasure prior to the acceptance letter being dictated and sent out.
We can be deterred by a rejection and stomp around berating the said publishing house for not realizing its potential or we can learn from the experience. This second choice is the hardest and there is no reason why a good stomp can’t be enjoyed first! If we are fortunate enough to actually get comments written on a rejection letter or slip, we must treasure them. If the writing, concept or plot is truly bad there are no comments just a form letter. However, comments mean the manuscript was seen to have merits but needed work in some way or another. Take heed of these gems and revise to incorporate them. A newly revised submission may get accepted because of them.
My writing group is very conscious of and encourages, kind but constructive critique offered with compassion. To be blasted with unkind words or forced to write in a certain way, has a detrimental effect on another person’s writing and emotions. Be kind to those people who ask for your opinion and offer your honest critique without self interest or bias. There are as many styles of writing as there are writers so be open to the differences – you may learn something about your style through the interaction.
We may need a thick skin but there are ways of surviving without one.
Do you have an experience – good or bad – you could share?
Dross – definition: 1) the waste slag or scum that forms on the surface of molten metal 2) waste or foreign matter : impurity 3) something that is base, trivial or inferior
No matter if you are a new writer or a seasoned one, there are times when we read a paragraph or short excerpt and just despair. It can be the premise, the interaction of characters or just how the scene reads. We’re just not happy with it. Depending on your mind set at that moment, there are a few spur of the moment actions that may occur. Pressing delete is number one for most of us as we berate ourselves for writing such dross. Another is to focus too hard on it and become bogged down, re-writing again and again, usually having the result of making us even angrier and unable to concentrate creatively.
If you are absolutely sure that deleting the passage is the only way, then do it but if not, save the offending article in isolation – may be create a ‘dross’ file? Leave the work and do something else, non-writing related. A walk, a workout, make a cup of tea and read a book for a while, no matter what it is distract your mind. In the terminology of the computer age – reboot your mind. Once you return you can see the article with fresh eyes and if you are lucky a revision will reveal itself.
Another aspect of ‘dross’ thinking is when you have finished a project and second-guess yourself as to its merits. Is it good enough? Will anyone like it? Is my writing worthy of submission to a publisher, a magazine or beta readers? We are uncertain literary beings at the best of times and unfortunately compare ourselves to the ‘greats’. All of us have heard the stories of successful authors receiving many rejections before being ‘found’, such J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and John le Carre. Make yourself feel better just look at this link – http://www.examiner.com/article/30-famous-authors-whose-works-were-rejected-repeatedly-and-sometimes-rudely-by-publishers
There is always a golden phrase or sentence that is worth saving or revising. Juggle the words, mix the sentences around or write it from a different characters perspective. Do not give up hope – your words are precious after all.