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View Full Version : a moment to vent about a lack of support



himynameisamanda
09-08-2009, 06:41 AM
Okay. I understand the nature of this business. That itís mostly rejection, no matter how good you are.

But I donít think its fair that because I know that, that I shouldnít take any of this personally. That I know it only takes one ďyes,Ē that Iím not allowed to feel bad about any of this. Because I know this hurts, it shouldnít hurt. Because I canít change it or fix it and I have nothing new to say about it, I shouldnít say anything at all. Because this sucks and everybody knows it, but thatís the way it is, so I should just take it and smile.

I mean, this isnít in any way a diatribe about being agents or being rejected or anything like that. I understand where theyíre coming from.

But the fact is that it hurts. And most of the time, I think I do a really good job of dealing with it. I get a rejection, and I go, ďAlright. Letís look at another agentĒ or ďLetís tweak the query letter or the bookĒ or even ďOkay. Maybe this idea isnít quite right. Letís try writing another book entirely.Ē I mean, I try to learn from mistakes, turn negatives and positives, and use everything I possibly can to improve my writing.

But some days, it hits me harder, and I just want to cry. And I donít want anybody to tell me that itíll be okay, that somebodyíll publish my book someday, because they might not. In fact, odds are against that ever happening. But thatís not the point.

The point is that I donít want to be told that Iíve said this before. That I go through this about ďonce every six months.Ē Do you realize how much rejection Iíve endured in the six months prior to that? The fact that I only take two days a year to sob and freak out is pretty damn remarkable.

The point is that this is hard, and I go through this the best I can. But on the days when itís not going good, I donít need any words of wisdom. Or any jewels about how great my writing is and how one day everything will be a magical fairy tale. All I need is for you to listen and remind me of the things that make me happy.

Because, at the end of the day, despite all the rejection and pain, the thing that makes me the happiest is writing. And maybe thatís the point. Even if I canít get paid to do something I love, at least I can do something that I love. At least I have that.

Mumut
09-08-2009, 09:09 AM
Even if I canít get paid to do something I love, at least I can do something that I love. At least I have that.

That's fine sentiment. I hope you get a "yes" soon.

MacAllister
09-08-2009, 09:25 AM
Hang in there. I'd tell you it gets easier -- but I don't know if it ever does, really. We hope, and we dream, and in the meantime, we try very hard to improve our skills so that we're actually better at what we do, and we're not getting rejected for making the same mistakes over and over.

And in the meantime, if you decide "himynameisamanda" is an awfully long handle once you're not a newbie any more, drop me a private message and I can tweak it for you, too. :)

Renee Collins
09-08-2009, 09:35 AM
I totally know what you're feeling. Sometimes there's a notion in the writing community that you are "not allowed" to be sad about rejection. Frankly, I think that's unrealistic. Rejection sucks. Plain and simple. It sucks, and it can be downright depressing.

But I do think you've got a good attitude about it overall. Keep writing, keep trying, and when you're feeling low, come to AW. :)

bettielee
09-08-2009, 09:58 AM
Hey - you'll find a lot of support here! Everybody feels this way at times, of course, you know that. Maybe having a place to vent a little will make these days come fewer and farther between (than they already do).
:Hug2:

Millie
09-08-2009, 01:06 PM
I know what you mean Amanda. If you were applying for jobs and were continuosly rejected, you would get a bit of sympathy, people would understand what you were going through. To me, pouring your inner most feelings onto paper, creating characters, backgrounds, workplaces, love-lives etc is such an emotional process and reveals so much about you to the world you can't help taking each rejection to heart.

Rejection sucks and picking yourself up and sending it out again is hard, but what else can you do - stack it all up in the loft for your great-grandchildren to find when you die?

scarletpeaches
09-08-2009, 04:04 PM
Completely agree.

I'd say it does get easier, but you're still allowed a freak-out every now and again and if you only do that twice a year, you're going pretty well IMO. :)

backslashbaby
09-08-2009, 04:29 PM
Hot cocoa or a glass of wine and a long hot bath for you :) And hugs. And a fluffy bed and a good book when you're done. :)

triceretops
09-08-2009, 08:58 PM
It's difficult to take 99.99 % rejection in stride--that's a lot of times to be told "no." I can only say that it does get a bit easier over the years, even as the reject stacks grown higher and higher. Little solace, I know. But that is the nature of this beast we are pursuing. Keep your head down against the gale force winds, and continue that trek. Not saying that the end is in sight. But if you don't try, you'll never know.

Tri

DeleyanLee
09-08-2009, 09:15 PM
Okay. I understand the nature of this business. That itís mostly rejection, no matter how good you are.

But I donít think its fair that because I know that, that I shouldnít take any of this personally. That I know it only takes one ďyes,Ē that Iím not allowed to feel bad about any of this. Because I know this hurts, it shouldnít hurt. Because I canít change it or fix it and I have nothing new to say about it, I shouldnít say anything at all. Because this sucks and everybody knows it, but thatís the way it is, so I should just take it and smile.

I just want to know what lying bastard told you it wasn't supposed to hurt and all that other rubbish quoted.

I got my first rejection letter in 1975. I've lost count of all the rejections over the decades, but I'm sure it numbers in the hundreds, if not thousands. They all hurt. And with each one, I give myself up to 24 hours of emotional melt-down where I'm allowed to bitch, whine, moan, lament, seek out comfort foods, shirk other writing responsibilities and question why I'm doing this to my heart's content. Sometimes I take it all, sometimes I don't.

After 24 hours, then the kreebing and binging has to end and I make the decision whether or not I'm going to keep going with this submission thing or not. If I am, then I've got 24 hours to get it back out the door.

After all this time, I've come to believe that pretending it doesn't hurt has made me more insensitive as a writer, less likely to see the value in critique (or rejection) and just turn a blind eye to things that are actually learning opportunities. By giving myself that "melt-down day" every time, I can work through the emotions and get back into business. It helps me cope with it.

So take your time for you own grieving process on rejections and never apologize. You deserve it. It helps keep you sane for the next go-round as you strive for that one "yes".

Best of luck on the next 'round.

himynameisamanda
09-09-2009, 08:18 AM
Thanks to everyone's show of support. I was just having a rough day, and the people in my life seemed to think that I should be used to it by now and get over it. So I took a moment to vent. And I appreciate all of you taking the time to let me know that I'm not alone and it's okay to feel bad sometimes.

So THANKS!!!!!

Cranky
09-09-2009, 09:38 AM
Heck yeah, it's okay to feel bad sometimes! I think that sometimes, it's hard for folks who don't face this sort of rejection on a regular basis to understand how much it can really hurt. I do my "chin-up, keep on sending it around" thing in public most of the time, but yeah, I either cry or want to cry every time I get a "No."

It's hard because we have to believe in ourselves and in our work to even have the guts to send something out there for some unknown person to judge. It takes a leap of faith for many of us, and to fall short on the landing plain blows. Whine, cry, shake your fist at the cruel world, and you'll feel better for it, so long as you don't wallow, and you don't appear to be doing that. Feel it, but don't let it get you down for too long, or stop you from chasing your dream.

arkady
09-09-2009, 06:09 PM
I totally know what you're feeling. Sometimes there's a notion in the writing community that you are "not allowed" to be sad about rejection. Frankly, I think that's unrealistic. Rejection sucks. Plain and simple. It sucks, and it can be downright depressing.

Yes. Some folks say it gets easier with time, but I haven't noticed that.

Phaeal
09-15-2009, 10:53 PM
Completely agree.

I'd say it does get easier, but you're still allowed a freak-out every now and again and if you only do that twice a year, you're going pretty well IMO. :)

Yeah, twice a year is doing pretty well. My own strategy is not to let the "freak" build up. Instead, I have a minifreak with each rejection. Then I sit down, write my thank you note to the agent or editor, and send that sucker out again.

Here's another secret: If you send a story or novel out often enough, it will get so tired of being in the real or virtual mail that it will leap on the next agent/editor's face and cling with all its claws until the agent/editor screams "Uncle" and accepts it.

Of course, you have to perform the Vivification Ritual on the MS first. And that secret stays with me.

;)

Laura Lond
09-16-2009, 01:10 AM
Hang in there. Yes, it hurts, and you have the right to be upset. There is nothing wrong with allowing yourself to cry once in a while, too.

I don't expect any support from the non-writing folk; they just don't get it. I am used to living with depression and dealing with it on my own. I manage to function normally, and most of them easily forget that I have some kind of weird problems. But sometimes, if I want to spend one whole day NOT fighting pain and depression, I will. It does not mean that I will make everyone around me miserable; I'll just withdraw and stop pretending that everything is fine.

Fuchsia Groan
10-09-2009, 04:46 AM
Nothing helps much when I get in this mood, but I have a couple stories I repeat to myself:

(1) I interviewed a writer whose first novel was reviewed in The New Yorker and other prestigious places. He told me he sent 800 queries before he got a bite. He's still not rich and famous, because his work really isn't that commercial, but he's still publishing, because he found an editor who believes in him.

(2) I was exchanging emails with a friend, already published, who was struggling with his next novel. Bad feedback from his agent and all kinds of darkness. Now? It's out there, getting lots of press and selling well. He did something right. First of all, he didn't give up.

Every rejection makes me feel like my writing just plain sucks-- I'm negative that way, and the fact that I already write and edit (nonfiction) for a living makes no difference. But then I remember the 800 queries, and I know I've got a long way to go before I give up. I'm sure you do, too.

arkady
10-09-2009, 07:42 PM
I'm sorry to say that himynameisamanda is right. And the worst part is that with each rejection, you ask yourself yet again "Am I really a good writer? SYW and my beta readers say so, but I still get rejections over and over. And even if I am a competent writer, there are still other factors that could be causing my rejections, so what's the point?" Sure, I love writing, or I wouldn't do it. And the purists insist that this should be motive enough. But one of my goals is to be legitimately published, and I have no idea if I'm any closer to that goal now than I was when I began.

So far, the only meaningful answer I can come up with is "If you quit, your chances of getting published drop to exactly zero."

No, himynameisamanda, you're not alone.

Phaeal
10-09-2009, 09:54 PM
Another thing that helps is to have some source of instant gratification -- because instant grat is in short supply for us writers.

I know a lot of people who get IG from writing fan fiction. The trick there is writing fan fic that's in a popular fandom and that exploits a popular trope and/or pairing. These stories get lots of quick squees and praise.

If you write fan fic in a little populated fandom, or with tropes or pairings few like, then you might as well be writing original fic. ;)

My own IG comes from playing Diablo online. Nothing like slaughtering screen after screen of monsters to cheer you up. Plus last night I traded a set of UberTristram keys for a Jah rune! I so geeked out, I almost forgot the latest spate of rejections.

Okay, maybe you had to be there...

:e2dance:

Fuchsia Groan
10-12-2009, 05:21 AM
I posted a couple of fan fics to a LiveJournal community, sort of as an experiment, and you're absolutely right: It's instant gratification. I got levels of positive feedback I've never had on my original writing, some of it more articulate than the standard squees. Now if only I could figure out how to get people that interested in characters that belong to me and aren't associated with hot actors... :)

You know, the great thing about writing is, at least trying and failing is cheap. If you're making movies or painting canvases, you could be sinking a lot into your so-called hobby. But it's hard to appreciate that when the main costs you pay (on bad days) are in self-esteem.

folkchick
10-12-2009, 05:34 PM
My mom started writing seriously after we all had moved out. She sent in one query, got a rejection and gave up. It does hurt, perhaps more for some people than others. But the one thing you can't buy is time, and if you spend the next couple of years querying you just might find success. If you don't, you won't. Believe me, I felt like giving up the other night and am writing this from the little pep talk I gave myself.

Don't give up. Most of us are trying to break through. Don't aim for the best agent--whoever that is--aim for the right agent. The one who will love and care for your project the same you you do. I believe there is an agent out the for all of us. Good luck to you on finding yours!

stormie
10-12-2009, 05:39 PM
:Hug2:

arkady
10-12-2009, 06:54 PM
I posted a couple of fan fics to a LiveJournal community, sort of as an experiment, and you're absolutely right: It's instant gratification. I got levels of positive feedback I've never had on my original writing, some of it more articulate than the standard squees.

You're both absolutely right. I confess I did the same thing during one of my blue periods -- though not on that particular forum -- just to reassure myself that I really could write. The raves rolled in. They started pleading to know the fates of my original characters, and speculating to each other on their possible fates. They declared themselves astounded that my fanfic read "like a real novel!" In fact, more than a year later, the rave reviews are still coming, along with heartfelt pleas for a sequel.

I realize, of course, that the standards for fanfic are not particularly stringent. But I figured that if I was capable of getting that kind of reaction out of a bunch of total strangers, my writing had to have something going for it. The reassurance I got from that experience enabled me to keep on writing and submitting.


it's hard to appreciate that the main costs you pay (on bad days) are in self-esteem.

I wouldn't say "self-esteem" exactly. More like "confidence." To keep on sending out manuscripts, you have to possess the confidence that someone, somewhere is going to see the potential in your writing and take you on. All of us, I think, go through periods in which that confidence starts to wane.

newgreekwriter
10-19-2009, 11:46 AM
Just never give up. Many people got turned down before they got that one, little yes. Good work will be recognized someday, and I do hope you receive a yes. =)
And in response to being sad about a rejection, of course, everybody is, even the ones who don't want to say it. Just learn how to get out of that funky mood. ;-)

Misa Buckley
10-19-2009, 02:46 PM
Amanda, it sounds like you're in the same position I am - with little to no support network at home. If I'm right, then my heart goes out to you, because that situation is so incredibly difficult. I know because I live it day in and day out.

However, you do have something for agents to reject! I've not gotten to that point yet, mainly because I struggle to finish my original stories. Lack of support means I've no one to encourage me, to push me on, or listen to me rant when I've written myself into a corner (that happens frequently!).

I wish I had some good adivce. Why don't you sign up for NaNoWriMo and see if there's a group meeting locally to you? Or see if there's a writers' group? Best of luck :Hug2:



I know a lot of people who get IG from writing fan fiction. The trick there is writing fan fic that's in a popular fandom and that exploits a popular trope and/or pairing. These stories get lots of quick squees and praise.

If you write fan fic in a little populated fandom, or with tropes or pairings few like, then you might as well be writing original fic.

That cracked me up, Phael, because it's almost exactly why I started writing original fiction. The fanfic I write has a less-than-popular canon character paired with an original character. I have a few fans, but otherwise it's mostly writing for myself.

Actually for NaNo last year, I "scratched off the numbers" as a friend put it and wrote the whole thing as original. I... still need to finish that of *coughs*

piscesgirl80
10-20-2009, 04:20 AM
:Hug2::e2grouphu:Cake:...and whatever else might make you feel happy. Can't really add much to what others have already said, but kudos to you for expressing your feelings!

michellek
11-04-2009, 11:46 PM
Because, at the end of the day, despite all the rejection and pain, the thing that makes me the happiest is writing. And maybe thatís the point. Even if I canít get paid to do something I love, at least I can do something that I love. At least I have that.

The last few lines are excellent!

It is a way of looking at rejection. Nobody can take writing away from you regardless of where you are at.

copperbeech
11-05-2009, 04:39 PM
Well said. I think it's very unreasonable for writers or those around them to expect that the process of publishing is always unemotional and just part of the job. It is very personal and the fact that you, we, can stay in it says just how important to us writing and sharing it is.

Hope you are well.

Beware_of_Italics
11-08-2009, 12:49 AM
The fact that I only take two days a year to sob and freak out is pretty damn remarkable.

This could be me talking. :tongue

Only in my experience, I'm not given pep talks. When I have my RARE upset, I'm told to just hush up and that my problems are nothing compared to theirs.

Thanks Mom. (She was supportive before, but now I can't even complain about rejection in a simple 3 word sentence just once every half a year or so).