The other day I received news that I was rejected by the agent who had selected me as a contest winner a little over a month ago. Do you see how I phrased that sentence? I said that I was rejected. That’s might be the whole problem with my approach to querying agents about my manuscript. I wasn’t rejected. My manuscript was. Even though I’d assumed it would be rejected, I was still very upset. I know, there I go again – I assumed it would be rejected. There’s a good reason for that though. The agent had selected my piece based on the first 250 words in which I introduce the antagonist. I sort of figured that once she saw the book was not truly about him, she’d be less interested. I don’t think that’s lacking self-confidence, I think that’s just logic.
I was bummed. Really bummed. As I sat on the pity pot, I thought about how much I hated the whole process, especially the sense of being powerless and the feeling that my emotions are held sway by others. But I emailed my peeps and received support immediately. A writing friend called, my critique partner emailed and another writing buddy I met online tweeted. Cheered by their kind words, I had an epiphany. I don’t hate the whole process. I hate being rejected. I love writing and I love the relationships I’m building with other writers who are trying to do what I’m trying to do.
And I’m not powerless. I don’t need to query agents. I can step away from that process and focus on what I love – creating new stories and talking through plot problems and character development with friends. And guess what? I’m heading off to VCFA on Saturday to do just that. Perfect timing!
This morning on my run, I heard one of my new favorite songs – Head Full of Doubt by the Avett Brothers. Listen to it, it’s a song about following dreams and somewhere in the lyrics is a line that goes like this:
“If you’re loved by someone you’re never rejected.”
Given the calls, tweets and emails I received – I am never rejected. Now that manuscript on the other hand…