When I signed up for this writing gig, almost eight years ago (and by signed up, I refer to a conversation with myself saying, ‘I WILL be a writer!’), I was determined to be in it for the long haul. I’d spent my life dabbling in creative pursuits; music, performance, writing, but this time, this conversation, I committed to making it ‘what I do’. And since then, I’m pretty proud of the journey I’ve taken.
It ain’t always sunshine and roses though, and I’m sure many of us will agree. For every promising moment, there are three let downs, for every achievement, there’s a couple of failures, and for every encouraging word, there are one or two negative Moriartys.
In addition to my indie publishing work, I also submit regularly to traditional publishers, and have been doing so for five years. Rejection slips have become the norm, and I’m no longer bewildered by them. I know how difficult it is to get your manuscript beyond the slush pile, or through the publisher’s email vortex.
In recent months, one of my stories finally made it beyond the first step, with a publisher I adore. It was to be presented at an acquisitions meeting. I was creeping closer to the goal of becoming a traditionally published author. Such heightened emotion and anticipation! I had the hypothetical contract-announcement prepared, the launch ideas floating, even how I would promote the book and share it with the world. Ah! They say ignorance is bliss, yes?
Although it was a loved story, it didn’t make it over the line during the acquisitions meeting. That’s all folks. Bye, bye. See ya later. This rejection was more heartbreaking than any email slip received or self-addressed envelope popped kindly into my mailbox by the postie. It was a sick-in-the-guts feeling. A, ‘but I was SO close!’ reaction. A, ‘What the bleep am I going to do now?!’ paranoia.
I am incredibly grateful that this publisher saw promise in my story, and took the risk sharing it with the team, but it wasn’t to be.
I turned to colleagues for moral support, and a place to share my heartbreak.
And that’s where I realised why I do this. Why I’m in the writing game.
Messages of support flooded in. Encouraging, kind, comforting words. Shared experiences. Heartbreaking experiences. Everyone rallied together and it felt like a gigantic virtual hug around us all. There was a three-hour chat and catch up with a treasured colleague and friend, and a wonderful opportunity offered by my gorgeous friend and editor. Promise, hope and the ability to see beyond the crush of rejection, towards the next step.
We all will be knocked down on this journey, but we will get back up because we have each other. When you share the travel, it makes the ups and downs a lot easier to bear.
Thank you to this wonderful community. So privileged to be part.
End note: If you’re in this writing gig for the long haul too, I encourage you to seek a supportive, like-minded group or network. Two that I am part of, and find invaluable for not only professional, but emotional support, are Just Write For Kids and The Duck Pond. Share Your Story and Creative Kids Tales are fabulous, too.
By Renee Price.