Monday, January 24

Fate's Got a Plan


This week's topic is rejection. Nobody likes it, and everyone encounters it along the way. Actually, I just got in a huge discussion about the Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (you've probably seen the story in about 8 zillion different articles and interviews over the past two weeks): if children don't learn how to deal with rejection, won't it be crushingly horrible when they encounter for the first time as an adult? But I digress.

I certainly know rejection. In fact, I feel as if I've trained for it. You see, in my previous life I was a singer/actress. For those of you unfamiliar with jobhunting in that particular field, here's the drill:
1)Make an appointment at as many as ten auditions in a given week;
2)prepare a 1 minute monologue, an entire song(although they may stop you after 10 bars, or 32 bars), and mentally brace for learning a dance combination on the spot;
3)when you walk in, realize the casting group could immediately cut you before you even open your mouth because:
a)You are too short/tall to partner with the guy they just decided to cast
b)You look too young/old for the role, even if you are exactly the stipulated age
c)They don't like the way you're dressed (seriously!)
4)you may be stopped after 30 seconds of your monologue, after 30 seconds of your song, or they may let you do the entire thing. All a crap shoot.
5)if they like you, you might be asked to stay and read a scene with another actor. This too can backfire on you, if your partner isn't any good.

After all this, there are still a million reasons why you might not get a call back, or eventually cast. No matter how talented you are, it might take 20 auditions before being cast in a show. There is no feedback, no comments, so you are left to constantly second guess yourself and wonder what part of you wasn't good enough. Sound familiar to anyone?

So yes, I am well schooled in the art of handling rejection. For every lead role on my resume, there are a slew of unseen 'No's that battered my soul. But a great coping mechanism is to realize that Fate just might have a plan for you. Way back in 1994 I auditioned for 2 shows on the same night. Both were lead roles, great companies, and I felt pretty darn good about my auditions. Long story short, I didn't even get a call back to the show I really wanted to get. However, I did get the lead in the other musical, and it is where I met my husband.

With about 25 rejections under my belt, I reached an agent who asked for changes after reading the full of my first manuscript. We went back and forth several times, and I made every change she requested, most centering around moving the introduction between the hero/heroine to the first chapter. She ended up passing on it, but I'm convinced her changes moved me from a so-so opening to one that can't miss. After I changed the first chapter, I won two contests and ended up published (hence the attached photo of my cover). Am I bitter the agent passed? Not at all. I see Fate's hand in this, leading my to publication.

Book #3 is currently making the query rounds. Am I bitter about the long list of rejections it has racked up? Nope. When it is the right time and the right circumstances, it will find its way to the world. So embrace your rejections, knowing that they are leading you down the right path, even if you don't see it right away.

8 comments:

  1. You know, that's such a great way to go through life. I feel the same way.
    And when it's right, it'll happen. All the steps on the path will lead you to your literary home. That's almost Zen.

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  2. Good luck Christi. I've no doubt book three will find a home. You have a wonderful attitude about rejection. I share in your optimism.

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  3. Great post, and I think your "former life" sounds sooo interesting and so preparatory for a writing career, too.

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  4. Good luck with your 3rd book. I would love to be an actress (if I had any talent) but the rejection would do me in. Writing is hard enough.

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  5. I just dig in and keep on working. I didn't like getting rejected but I appreciated the feedback I was given to work on and get accepted a short time later.

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  6. I have to say that in the beginging, I cried, and thought about giving up. it wasn't until a few years ago that I realized that I wasn't even taking my writing seriously. I would stop writing when I got a rejection, all it took was one to do me in, but I would always come back to the written word. Then one day, A friend who'd just recieved a rejection said "Rejections are just one step closer to publication" I tell myself that every time I get that letter in the mail, or e-mail, and I move on from there.

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  7. Great attitude, Christi, and so true. We can't know why something happens - rejection, acceptance, revisions, whatever - at the time...but a light may ping on at any moment with an 'ahhhh, that's the reason'!

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  8. I don't mind the rejection. It's the lack of reason that bothers me. Does that affect anyone else? I'm like you D'ann. I'm not quitting, I'm not throwing it away but the guidance I was seeking was absent. Thank God for our group. :) AnneN

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