Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hope Springs Eternal

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.


Rena said...

Oh yeah, I feel for you right now. I've been where you are--I'm about to jump back into it! Sometimes I think the personalized feedback is harder. It's like you were close enough that they couldn't tell you weren't one of those crazy people, but yet it wasn't... enough?

So here's my take on the whole set up: Your debut novel has to get over a ton of hurdles. It doesn't have to be good, it needs to be spectacular. It has to be so good that the agent can't sleep with the thought of you working with someone else instead of her (or him). Which is to say really amazing work is what gets an agent. Good? Great? nope, those aren't going anywhere. This is the pros we're talking about here. Best in your high school? not good enough. Best in college? now you're talking, but do you know how many people we send to the olympics? not many, and that's the game you're trying for with getting an agent.

It's not that you aren't good. It's not that you aren't great. It's that you haven't come across someone who thinks you're that magical specatular-awesomesauce-with-a-side-of-OMG-I-LURV-that-Book.

Chin up. Keep writing. You've got this in the bag.

p.s. this place you're in now? this is where the amateurs quit so there's more room for the rest of us. Keep writing.

Erin Kane Spock said...

Thanks for the pep-talk, Rena. Yeah, I've been here before and this is just one more bump in the road. Yesterday I indulged in a pity party. Today I'm writing fueled by determination and, occasionally, flipping off no-one in particular.

Christine Rains said...

Tomorrow will be better. I think many writers have days like that. Goodness knows I do. The flying high days when publishers are interested and then the pass. I think the pass-on-its are worse than the out-right rejections. I keep telling myself it's about the journey. We all have different ones. It does me no good to compare myself to other writers. Just keep writing and be persistent. You'll get there. :)

Kathleen said...

I think your books are great, Erin. Keep on keeping on. Can't wait to read the next one!

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