Rejection spawns reflection, spawns inspiration


Rejection hurts.

For the umpteenth time in the past 4 years, I was rejected for yet another job.  The reason: I’m over-qualified.  I don’t understand what that means but there it is.  I don’t know what we’re going to do as a family.  There is no money to pay the bills, just what little my hubby brings in on disability. There is no doubt my faith is being tested, my sanity is frayed, and my heart and soul are in pain.

This may be true, dear Wesley, but we all need something to make us feel worthwhile, to feel needed and special. And like it or not, we all need money to pay the bills so we don’t end up living on the streets, which is where my family is heading if I don’t land a job soon.

To keep myself from feeling like a complete and utter failure, I did a little reflecting and thought about things that would make me happy instead of sad.  When I left the hospital the other day from seeing my mother-in-law (who I love dearly and is suffering from dementia and C-Diff), hubby and I drove around looking for things to inspire me and my writing.  There just happens to be this awesome affluent neighborhood near the hospital so we took an hour tour.

Here are some places and things that lifted my spirits and set my dreams in motion.

Hulk Hogan's house

If I’m not mistaken, the above house was once owned (or is still owned) by Hulk Hogan.

Gargoyle overlooking Willadel Drive Gargoyle overlooking Willadel Drive2

Willadel Drive is a big horse shoe drive.  There are two of these gargoyles poised at both entrances to the drive.  So cool.

an expansive home that took my breath away

Down the road a ways was this sprawling mansion that looks directly out onto the bay. I’m standing in the narrow (not for sale) lot across the street and still couldn’t get the whole picture.

pretty little Victorian homeAnd check out this sweet Victorian home.  Love, love, love.

Staircase - love the reflection of the clouds in the window

A mile or so down the road, I stumbled upon this beauty.  Look at that amazing staircase to the front door.  I think it was the reflection of the sky and the clouds in that amazing front door that inspired me the most when I took this shot.

A royal view

We then took a ride out to the beachside.  I wanted to see how baseball’s Ryan Howard’s house was coming along.  We turned down a short cul-de-sac where we spotted this beauty.  It’s for sale.  I fell in love with the upstairs balcony.  I can imagine sitting there and looking out onto the Gulf of Mexico, watching the sunset.  *sigh*

Happy Dolphins
Not too far away were these happy dolphins smiling and leaping away in a front yard.  They made my heart happy.

And then, there was Ryan Howard’s monstrous creation:

Ryan Howard's home Ryan Howard's home 2I posted about this home a year ago.  You can read it here.  I would LOVE to take a tour of this place when it’s completed. Breathtaking, huh?  And the Gulf of Mexico is just behind that house.

I am in awe. I’m inspired. I have faith that someday I will have a home as big and wonderful for all my friends and family to come stay.  I have faith someday I will have enough money that I will never have to worry about losing my home, or deciding between food or medicine.  I have faith that someday I will have enough money to take a family with nothing and put them in a home, help mom/dad or both find a job and give them and their family peace of mind.

Someday, I will be able to care for and provide for those I love. Until then, I will do my best to brush off the rejections and take time to reflect on those things that are important while striving to reach my goal.  I will continue to seek inspiration and lend it when I can.  Life is too short to be sad.

What is your inspiration?  What do you do to keep constant rejection from getting to you?

 

 

 

Re-writing a manuscript: Stick with it or let it go?


I’ve been writing my Chronicles of Fallhollow trilogy for years.  Yes, I said years.  I started a long time ago, mainly as a passing fancy.  Then, something happened in 2003 and I knew in my heart and soul I had to finish it.

I also knew it would have to be three books; otherwise I would have one, 300,000 word novel.  Big NOT.  I wrote here and there, working on all three novels when the urge hit me, but came to an abrupt halt about a year later.  It wasn’t working.  My writing was lacking that umph.  I needed help.

I began to read young adult books and fantasy books with a passion.  I also began to research the publishing world.  I found out that agents and publishers wanted stand alone books in trilogies or in a series, meaning they had to be complete unto themselves, even though the story continued.  Back to the drawing board.

I continued to write when I could find time between taking care of a family and working full-time.  I joined an online writer’s group out of the UK – YouWriteOn.com and began getting feedback.  With the critiques came praises along with a few slaps in the face.  The slaps in the face were the ones that woke me up to the problems, while the praises kept me motivated.  I have to admit I almost gave up, especially after a critique partner told me I should let the story go to its grave.  “Sometimes,” he said, “it’s better to let it go than continue trying to resurrect the damn thing.”

Let it go?  Was he crazy?  This was my baby…the novel closest to my heart.  I’d written others.  They’re gone now, lost, destroyed.  This wasn’t my first attempt…but it was the first time I felt so passionate about the need to tell this story and get it published.

After I lost my job in 2010, I focused on nothing but my writing.  I set myself a goal, found a few great beta readers, and off I went to finish In the Shadow of the Dragon King. Exactly one year later, almost to the date of setting my goal, I submitted my novel to a publisher.  I knew it wasn’t perfect but I’d polished it the best I could.  With bated breath I waited.  And waited.  Three weeks later I got a response.  The message:  it needs work, but we’d love to see you resubmit if you decide you want to make the enclosed changes.

When I opened my attached manuscript, it was bleeding.  A lot.  I mean, it was mortally wounded.  I got a hold of one of my trusted beta partners and sobbed.  When I got over the pain of being kicked in the gut, she and I went over the comments and changes.  We both realized I had a goldmine in my hand.  A publisher took a lot of time to go through my manuscript, page by page, line by line, and tell me what was wrong with it, what I needed to fix, and if I decided to make the changes, to resubmit.

That was eleven months ago.  Life got in the way during that time, slowing down my momentum to re-write.  I have a month and a half to finish my revisions and send it back by the ‘not exactly a rejection’ anniversary date.  Should I stick with it or let it go?  I’m definitely sticking with it.

Have you ever had a project you almost gave up on only to be glad you didn’t?

“R” is for Rejected/Rejection


Hi, everyone!  This post is part of the A-Z challenge. Please take time to visit the other blogs that are participating.

For a writer, getting a rejection letter is one of the worst things that could happen.  After days, weeks, months, even years of pouring our hearts into a story only to be told to take a hike is a difficult pill to swallow.

Over the years I’ve submitted a variety of material for publication.  In my early years I submitted to magazines a lot.  Most of the time I got the standard form letter…Dear Jenny, thank you for submitting your work to [insert name of agency/magazine, etc.].  Unfortunately, it is not a fit for us at this time.

Okay, no problem.  I’m down with that.  I mean, they didn’t say my writing was bad; just that it wasn’t a fit, right?  Gotta move on.  Keep going.  For almost 2 years I diligently sent off articles, short stories, etc. with no luck.  After a while, the rejections began to take their toll.  Was I really that bad of a writer? Surely someone liked something I wrote.   I changed tactic and started submitting short stories for competitions.  Didn’t win anything.  Then I started looking for homes for some of my short stories, submitting to anthology competitions.  Again, nothing.  Not even one bite.  I decided to take one more chance with a short titled “When Herman Cries”.  It was a children’s story about a goldfish who lost his mother and cried so much, his tears overfilled his fish tank.  It was a story of grief and how kids find solace in the simplest of creatures.  I received the worst rejection I could have ever received.  I’ll never forget it.  Paperclipped to my returned story was a yellow note that simply said in black marker,

There was no salutation, no closing.  Just those four words.

I was devastated.  Two days later, in a heated argument, I tore up my first completed novel, “One Night With You”…a fictional piece about Elvis Presley.  I put my typewriter and pens away.  That was twenty-two years ago.

In 2003, the writing bug returned to me again.  Wait. Let me rephrase.  It didn’t return to me. I returned to it, and oh, how my heart rejoiced.  It was like being reunited with an old and dear friend.  How could I have shunned my soul’s calling for so long?  I began writing again, anything and everything…poems, short stories, flash fiction, novels, novellas, editorials.  You name it.

For the past seven years I’ve done nothing but work on perfecting my own writing as well as those of others.  I’ve read a lot, joined critique groups, landed a few lifelong beta partners.  The internet has been a lifeline for me and other writers, offering outlets that didn’t exist 22 years ago.  Now, my writing is better, crisper, but I know I still have a long way to go.  I still get rejections and they still burn, but I’ve also received requests for partials and a request for an entire manuscript.  And while each rejection stings, they are the yellow bricks that line the road to publication.  I have a belief in myself and my writing now that I didn’t have 22 years ago.  That publishing contract is close, I can smell it, and when it finally happens, I’ll have all the ‘Thanks but no thanks’ I ever received to thank for it.  What a journey it’s been.  What a fantastic journey it’s going to be.

What about you?  What was your worse rejection letter and how did you overcome the sting?

K is for Knack, Kudos and Kleenex


This is a continuation of the A-Z blog challenge.  Click here to see the list of all 1935 participants!

For the past several weeks I’ve tested my writing capabilities like I’ve never done before.  I wrote a short story based on a picture and submitted it to a publisher for an upcoming anthology.  This was no easy feat.

I stared at the picture a lot, actually for a couple of months.  I thought I had a story I wrote years ago that would work.  I dusted it off and after reading it again, decided it belonged back in the vault. I was back to square one.  I then started reading through some other unpublished pieces and decided to take a few things out of each one that I liked, and weave a new tale that would capture the essence of the picture.

It was more difficult than I thought it would be.

Slowly but surely, a story emerged and I was happy with it…well, I was happy with the 1st half of it.  The second half sucked, with a capital S.  Even my beta readers agreed. However, with their comments, I brainstormed and came up with another half that we agreed was much better and presentable.  I submitted the story to the publisher.  That was April 2.

The next day I received an e-mail from the publisher. My heart almost leapt out of my chest.  I held my breath and opened the e-mail.  They liked the story but wanted changes. Would I be willing to make them and re-submit?  Can anyone say, “Heck Yeah!”  I had until April 11 to resubmit.

I thought about it, racked my brain, tortured my beta readers while offering my own critiques of their short stories for the same anthology competition.  Amazing enough, it never felt for a moment like we were competing against each other.  We were three authors working together in hopes of being published together.  And, because we were all part of an online writer’s group, the three of us had tons of support from the other members.  I can’t begin to say thank you enough to our support team.

In the wee hours of April 11, I sent over a revised copy of my short to the publisher.  An e-mail from the publisher around 11:40 yesterday morning sent my heart racing.  Was it good news?  Bad?  With a knot forming in my gut, I opened the e-mail.

They wanted clarification and ideas on how I would change some things.  Would I give them in-line comments on how I would fix some things?  Whew.  Not a denial.  I answered “Yes”, and I provided them with what they wanted, but let me tell you, the self-doubt kicked up a notch.  Here I was in the second round of edits and I still missed the mark.  What does that say about me as a writer?

Wait.  No.  Don’t go down the pity path, I said to myself.  They were requesting information from me.  That meant they were still interested.  Stay focused. Stay positive. The next round of e-mails concurred with my ideas and I got the “We’ll let you know” e-mail.  Okay.  Still in the running.

Today, I sit and wait.  Only five out of all the submissions the publisher received will find a home in the new anthology.  Part of me feels very positive. I mean, I gave it my all; the other part feels like I’m an outlier statistic.  These are feelings I think all new authors feel and go through.  Our hands sweat.  We get nervous.  We check our e-mails a gazillion times and pray when we get the one that counts, it’s good news.

No matter what the outcome, I know me.  Tears will fall, either out of joy or sadness.  The box of Kleenex is already on my desk.  I will cry for those who made it, and cry for those who didn’t, but never once will I doubt we all have the knack to tell a great story.  Kudos to all who tried and took the chance, and to my beta sisters who submitted along with me…you rock my world and I am blessed to have you on my side.  Good luck to each of you.  My fingers and toes are crossed.