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View Full Version : When does 'perseverance' become 'stubborness'?



Annmarie09
12-31-2009, 04:56 PM
Okay, so unlike everyone else on here, I am pathetically weak and am already disheartened.

It feels like writing and getting published is everything I've always wanted, and it's one of the most important aspects of my life. Once I finally finished my first novel and had polished it up a bit, I sent it around to a few agents in the UK. I got 6 or 7 rejections, 5 no answers and 1 full request.

I got this 1 full request about 5 months ago. I waited patiently, practically biting my nails over it all through Christmas, but I just got a 5 line rejection email this morning and I am feeling like quicksand. Stuff keeps getting sucked in and nothing ever comes out.

I'm considering just quitting this quest for an agent and giving up. I mean, I'm inexperienced and my writing is childish and, in short, not good. I'm only 15, what agent would take me seriously?

*sigh* sorry for ranting. Why does rejection have to hurt so much?

Brutal Mustang
12-31-2009, 06:13 PM
Well sweetie, you yourself say your writing is not ready. If it's not ready, no one is going to want to publish it. What you need to do is work on bringing it up to par. Then try again.

Fifteen is young. I can tell you writing professionally was the last thing on my mind at fifteen. So in this way you have a head start on me, and on many other writers. Be patient. Learn, learn, learn--I'm sure your local library contains a wealth of writing books. Also, read, read, read. Reading in your genre teaches you a lot about writing in it, and also gives you a good idea on what is being overdone in it. Do all this, and then when your head is mature enough to be published, you'll have already mastered the craft.

kellion92
12-31-2009, 07:14 PM
When I was 15 I wanted to be a writer too. I've been working around the peripheries of that dream ever since then, and I only got serious about writing a novel three years ago.

At 15 I thought I was pretty good. My teachers thought I was pretty good. But I wasn't. You are way ahead of me because you're serious NOW. But you still have a lot of work to do, and working toward a dream is perserverence, not stubborness. So keep at it.

Calla Lily
12-31-2009, 07:24 PM
Same here at 15. I just kept at it in my stubborn way for, well, years. *feels dye job weakening* I wasn't ready then. Maybe you're not ready yet either. Keep reading, keep writing, keep learning the craft. The only timeline for this is the moment when you and your beta readers say it's ready to go. Good luck!

Toothpaste
12-31-2009, 08:19 PM
Perseverance means not giving up on a dream at 15 after your first big rejection. I know we're all harping on your age, but the fact is you have SO much time, to work on your craft, to find that agent. I know right now it doesn't feel like it, you want it to happen now, and it does for some teens (teenagers do get published all the time, so don't look at your age as a hindrance, aside from the lack of life experience), but believe me, there is no timeline to life. You could start on this journey at 60 if you want. You chose now, and in doing so have given yourself a huge advantage of time.

We aren't stronger than you. I turn thirty next year and every single rejection I get makes me cry, literally burst into tears. I feel terrible, I mope, I get angry. The difference between someone who gives up and someone who doesn't is simply getting beyond those feelings. Knowing that you feel you will be published someday. Knowing that you believe in yourself. You grieve for a day or two, and then you start all over again. We aren't superhuman, we're just determined.

So give yourself time to feel bad. And then move on. Query more agents. Or take a look at your book and maybe give it a thorough going over. I'm not sure if you're just being hard on yourself because you're sad, but if you truly believe your writing isn't very good I have to ask, why on earth do you think it deserves to be published? Go over your work and make it good. No excuses, especially not about your age. It was your choice and your choice alone to submit at 15. There are other teens here who have and have successfully. If you need more time to improve your craft, then take it. Stop submitting and work on the writing. You are so darn lucky, you have so much time available to you!

It'll be okay. I promise.

MsJudy
12-31-2009, 10:17 PM
Be careful what you wish for, anyway.

Sometimes early success is not such a good thing. Look at how few child actors go on to have solid careers as adults. Or Google the "literary Brat Pack" for the stories of the writers who were The Next Big Thing when I was in college.

Some teenagers are getting published. And some of them are very good, very mature and very polished. I wish them the best of luck and long, successful careers.

For myself, painful as it was to "fail" in my 20s, I'm glad. Because the books I was writing back then are NOT the kinds of books I want to write now. And the non-writing life I had to lead because I didn't get rich and famous right away--I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Writing, like any kind of art form, comes with a tremendous amount of pressure. You are creating something new and unique and original. Doing that well, and also doing it on time, and protecting yourself emotionally from other people's reactions to it...that all takes a lot of strength. Some people have that strength in their teens, but most of us don't.

I know how personally I used to take those rejections. I thought it was all about talent. Being a writer is something born in you, and if you're good, you'll get published. Ha! So wrong.

Talent gets you only a little way. Hard work learning the craft gets you a whole lot farther. So all the rejections mean is you're not there yet. It doesn't mean you won't get there eventually, if you keep working at it and getting better.

And that's where life helps. As you get older, you have more chances to try things, work hard, fail and try again. You have more things to write about. And you have more perspective on what's really important.

15 years ago this Sunday, my son was born. He and I both nearly died in the delivery. Now he's a snarky punk-rocker getting straight As in high school. The fact that he is even alive is such a miracle. Compared to that, rejections from agents just...don't really matter, you know?

Give yourself time. Maybe you only need another year or two. Maybe, like me, you need 30. Doesn't matter. Just work hard and enjoy the ride.

AngieStone
12-31-2009, 10:27 PM
Hey there...

I've been writing my whole life. Since the time that I was six years old. I quit for five years while I was in university...and when I didn't get into the writing school I had applied to and vowed I would never write again.

Luckily I did and now I have a short story published and an agent.

I think back on my feelings when I was your age...and I remember wondering why everyone was telling me that I needed my writing to gain some maturity...my voice was too young still and my experiences were very limited...at the age of 33, now I get it. I've grown and matured as a writer and I see now what I didn't see then. Sometimes you just need life experience to happen before you are truly ready.

You are way ahead of where I was when I was your age. I was still dabbling then and you've completed a novel already! Bravo! You also know way more about publishing then I did.

You've got it in you...you're just way ahead of the game. Perserverance is going to mean something entirely different for you because you are so young. Don't give up...but do give yourself some time.

Jamesaritchie
01-01-2010, 12:24 AM
A few middle teens have succeeded at writing, but darned few. Fifteen is an age where you can't give up on a writing dream. You can freely quit, go get into all the trouble, gain all the life experience, explore all the newness, teens are supposed to find, and come back to writing ten years later without missing a thing.

Fifteen darned sure is no age to spend your time doing something you don't enjoy. There's too much of that at fifteen, anyway.

Don't sweat it.

Mel A.
01-01-2010, 12:44 AM
Hi, Annmarie!

I agree with the previous posts about all the time you have ahead of you in which to perfect your craft. I'm just hopping on here to say that, well, gee, your stats aren't bad. 1 full request out of 12 queries? I know people twice your age (and then some) who would trade a right arm for a full request. Sounds to me like you need to step back and decide if your writing is really "childish" or if you're just feeling down. How have crit groups/beta readers responded to your work? How's your query looking? I don't know, but it seems a bit early to decide that you're just too young and inexperienced. Heck, it took me more than 12 queries to get a full request.

Whatever you decide, I wish you the very best of luck! :)

Annmarie09
01-01-2010, 10:24 PM
Thank you everyone for your lovely responses :) You guys really helped me realise that no, one bad rejection is not the end of the world even if it feels like it sometimes. I guess I was just feeling down the other day when I wrote that rant, because of the rejection and other things as well.

I'm not sure if my writing is 'good' or not (that's pretty subjective though, as different people have different opinions) but I do know that there are people out there who say it is good and I suppose believe in me somewhat, which is encouraging.

So, I think I've come to a decision. I'm going to query a few more agents in the US and see what comes of it. And this time I shall be properly prepared for rejection. I'll keep writing, keep reading, keeping learning, and hopefully one day things will turn out well :) It's a new year after all, so why not try a few more times?

Thank you everyone, and happy new year to you all!

gothicangel
01-02-2010, 01:49 AM
I would also say go and have a life too.

Go to University, fall in love, travel the world. I got my first big rejections at 21; and looking back it doesn't surprise me. I had nothing to say - I hadn't lived.

The destination doesn't matter, the journey is everything.

bclement412
01-02-2010, 02:08 AM
I'm in high school too, but for me, I don't know whether it's perseverance or stubbornness, because I am an extremely stubborn person by nature.

If you want to improve, I suggest you find a beta reader or join a critique group. Feedback is the best way to grow as a writer. Good luck :)

kellion92
01-02-2010, 02:15 AM
Annmarie, sounds like a good plan! Keep writing, keep querying, keep getting better!

Mharvey
01-02-2010, 08:38 AM
Okay, so unlike everyone else on here, I am pathetically weak and am already disheartened.

It feels like writing and getting published is everything I've always wanted, and it's one of the most important aspects of my life. Once I finally finished my first novel and had polished it up a bit, I sent it around to a few agents in the UK. I got 6 or 7 rejections, 5 no answers and 1 full request.

I got this 1 full request about 5 months ago. I waited patiently, practically biting my nails over it all through Christmas, but I just got a 5 line rejection email this morning and I am feeling like quicksand. Stuff keeps getting sucked in and nothing ever comes out.

I'm considering just quitting this quest for an agent and giving up. I mean, I'm inexperienced and my writing is childish and, in short, not good. I'm only 15, what agent would take me seriously?

*sigh* sorry for ranting. Why does rejection have to hurt so much?

Okay, I'm 27 and I've yet to get a full request for my work. Hon - you are in great shape right now. Your voice and style is fresh enough to get seasoned professionals to take a look at you. Don't get disheartened, don't give up. Remember: JK Rowling got rejected upwards of 80 times before someone took a shot on that little book called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

And as far as your age goes, don't worry at all about it. In fact, there's some agents that would look at your age as a marketing tactic - a book written by a "young prodigy". The fact you're already mature enough to realize your work isn't perfect is a very good start.

You are in fine shape, trust me. Do what other posters have recommended: don't sweat the writing thing. Go have fun. Meet people, see stuff. Always be a student of life.

Annmarie09
01-02-2010, 05:17 PM
Again, thank you for all of these comments :) I'm surprised I've gotten so many!

Yes, I really need to get a life, because at the moment mine basically consists of writing and studying. I'd really love to go to a mixed school for a year or so to see what's like :/

But, anyway, querying agents is really fun in a warped sense. Well, it's exciting. Happy new year everyone!

Oh, and bclement412, your stats are amazing 0_0