Nothing sparks hope like the positive response from an agent or publisher. Every time I’ve had a full manuscript requested has been golden. My writing is never better than when I feel like it’s going somewhere. I’ve had publisher responses telling me, a day after I sent the initial first three chapters, that they couldn’t put it down and to please send the full. During that time I’m a writing machine.
While waiting on my post-Romance Writers of America conference agent responses, hope held steady, petering only a little as we approach the 90 day deadline. No response is better than a bad response, right?
But what happens when hope is gone? A rejection is a sure way to kill my creative flow. Maybe my anti-depressants aren’t strong enough or I don’t get enough sunshine, but it really slays me. In fact, the generic ‘no thank you’ response is less painful than the agent that says I’m a good writer, they enjoyed my manuscript, but they can’t represent me at this time. What does that mean? What am I not doing right? Full of self doubt, it becomes impossible to write forward. I stop trusting my instincts after a really positive interaction with an industry profession doesn’t pan out. I don’t trust my writing when, obviously, readers don’t connect with it. Without knowing what I need to know different, my ability to produce it completely stymied.
It’s a shame that my sense of hope is pegged upon the response of others. I wish I could give myself my own gold star, but I must not have enough confidence. It’s upsetting and makes me wonder if I’m that singer auditioning for American Idol who sounds like a cow in labor, but thinks I’m all that.
The good news is that this too shall pass. I’ll get over myself because the story percolating in my head demands to be told. I’ll rediscover the joy of writing for the sake of writing and then the cycle will repeat. Who knows? Maybe some day I’ll have the right story and get it to the right reader.
I guess that means hope is not gone, not really. As for now, maybe today I’ll write in spite of the rejections. Or maybe I’ll give myself permission to be discouraged. Who knows? Tomorrow will be better.