Tuesday, September 8

Damned with Great Praise

Although I can't take any credit, I did watch this beautiful sand castle being built. A family labored over it for hours, and I scrambled over to take a picture as soon as they finished. Two hours later it was gone, washed away by one big wave without any remnant to show it ever existed.

I felt alot like this sand castle over the weekend. Heard back from a publisher who'd been reading my manuscript for a few weeks. When I read the first line, my heart raced: The dialogue is delightful and the writing is strong. Somebody had recognized the beauty in my work! It was a perfect shining millisecond....until I read on to the dreaded However. A tidal wave swamped my joy, and it was as though that moment of elation had never occurred. Sure, as rejection letters go, it was pretty great. They loved the writing - they just can't position my book anywhere. Somehow I don't feel assuaged at all. I need my confidence and faith in my work to be able to stand up against any criticism. Right now it wouldn't take the power of the ocean to swamp me. A couple of drops of morning dew off a leaf of grass could probably knock my shaky self confidence flat.

But that comes with the territory, right? Writers are constantly besieged by people telling them they aren't good enough. Not that they aren't good, mind you, but not good enough. How many other careers hold you to a standard that high? Remember the old joke about what do you call the kid who comes in last in medical school (Doctor)? Writing isn't like that, and you have to fight tooth and nail for validation. And yet we all perservere. Guess that means we're stronger than we think. Instead of comparing myself to the gone-by-high-tide sandcastle, maybe I need to be a grain of sand which can outlast every harsh condition tossed at them. If only I had some trickling between my toes right now.....

3 comments:

  1. Great post! I know exactly how you feel. I hate feeling like I'm hostage to those letters and contest judges.

    Lately, I try to reach for victories in ways I can control, like whether or not I'm satisfied with the way I wrote a scene, or whether or not I can finish a book by a certain date. Otherwise, too much of my confidence is based on the opinions of other people, and that's no way to live, no matter what my occupation is.

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  2. Christi and Jamie:
    You are both such phenoms! You're great writers, and nothing lilke a rejection is gonna stop you! I'm patiently waiting to see both your books on the shelves!

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  3. Don't you just hate getting the mail some days? Not to worry, your day's coming! Try not to let those rejections get you down. As they say, it's all part of the business. The thing to smile and feel good about is, You sent your ms out and an editor/or agent read it! That's cool!

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