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Being the kind of writer I want to be

I had a rejection yesterday, one which initially made me go ‘Ug, I’m just going to ignore this story for a bit, rejection sucks’. It’s a very natural reaction to hearing that someone doesn’t want your story. (note I did not say or think that this means my story sucks, or that I suck, just that rejection does).

And then I read the rejection again, and realized that the publisher was giving me an opportunity. One which I could either take up or not, one which either way did not matter to him but I realized mattered to me. This wasn’t about the story, or whether it got published or not, it was about the kind of writer I wanted to be.

Basically the rejection said something along the lines of ‘gonna have to pass on it for now. Over all it’s a good story but I think it still needs some work. If you want to take into consideration my comments, you’re welcome to resubmit.’

And I almost didn’t work on it.

I thought to myself ‘it will probably feel worse to be rejected a second time for the same story by the same publisher’.

And then I realized that wasn’t the point. The point was that I had an opportunity to define myself as a writer and the kind of writer I really want to be is one who TRIES. One who takes critique on board, listens to those in the editorial process and adapts herself to the situation.

So I reworked the story. I made changes along the lines of what he suggested. I cut about 600 words out of 4,300ish and I feel good about how the story looks right now. Even if it gets rejected again I’m happy, because I’m NOT the girl who gives up at the first sign of failure, and I am NOT the girl who lets a rejection get her down. I will resubmit it, but I have a different mind frame this time around.

If I am completely honest with myself (and I was in this process, it was part of the learning curve) this story was never one I wrote to get published. This is a somewhat self indulgent story in that it pays some homage to the horror stories I loved as a child and teenager. I wrote it for me, not for anyone else. Since publication was never it’s purpose I don’t really have a right to get upset when someone turns it down – I only submitted on the off chance that maybe it would make it. Right now, the story fulfills the needs I have of it: I enjoy it, and I feel good about having written it.

So, in the event it gets a second rejection, I don’t think I’ll be feeling glum at all. As a result of this rejection and the comments received the story is now tighter and I feel better about it. It was a great way to test my newfound belief that you have nothing to lose by getting rejected, and I am so pleased that it’s proven true! I feel like I have gained a lot – not only a stronger story, but a stronger idea about what kind of writer I want to be.

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25 thoughts on “Being the kind of writer I want to be”

  1. Cassie,

    I know that rejections aren’t fun. I’ve had more of them than I care to count or remember. But as you’ve done, rejections should be a spur to becoming a better writer.

    Writing can be a solitary occupation. I have found that the feedback of others I value is invaluable in becoming a better writer.

    1. Feedback is definitely invaluable! I don’t know what I would do without my writer friends. While one kind of has to do the actual writing alone, you never have to be alone as a writer these days – thank goodness for the internet!

      Thank you for stopping by Neil, I really appreciate the comment πŸ™‚

  2. Wow, that was so inspiring! I’ve never submitted anything before but it’s something I almost want to do. I agree, excellent post πŸ˜‰

    1. Thank you! I think we all need to be brave eventually, submission/rejection are just part of this writing thing if you want to get published. It just pays not to take things personally, and make the most of every opportunity that you’re given to grow as a person, and as a writer.

  3. Now that’s a good attitude to have to rejection. Very kiwi can!

    I don’t mind rejections that offer opportunities or even ones that just offer suggestions… I hate the ones that say “loved the story but not for us.” πŸ™‚

    1. Those ones are tricky, but at least you know you have a good story, it’s just about finding the right home for it. I’m still pretty new to this whole submission/rejection thing, so there is lots of learning to do, but it’s nice to find myself growing as a writer.

  4. So well said! I think it takes a while to figure out what sort of writer we want to be, and while positive support fills great gaps, some rejections are necessary to help shape and define.

    Great post!

    1. Thanks Anna! I have to agree that there are a whole range of new things to learn once you start putting yourself out there with submissions and start getting some rejections under your belt. Writing seems to be one of those things where you think you know heaps and then realize you really don’t! But that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned – means it’ll never get dull πŸ˜‰

  5. Cassie, writing is a learning process, and you have captured the lesson wonderfully in your blog. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    1. Thanks Karen! It feels good to be able to admit where my weaknesses have been, and where I can see I’m improving. Every writer has their own journey to make and if some of the path I’m treading can help others then thats great!

    1. Thanks M. Do you really think a lot of writers wouldn’t share that? I guess part of being honest with myself these days, is being able to be honest with others.

  6. Way to go Cassie – and though you talk about the story not being written to be published and being self-indulgent, the editor thought it well enough to offer you to resubmit – LOL

    Your courage is an inspiration

  7. Good to hear! I know the “screw this” feeling that comes with rejections, and the total apathy that usually follows for me. Great to know you’re attacking this better than me!

  8. JC, wow! Somehow I missed this post, but I’m so glad I happened to click on your home page instead of just the most recent post, as usual. This was such an inspiring post – what great perspective! Thanks so much for sharing. πŸ™‚

    PS: I have a little surprise for you in my latest blog post. πŸ™‚ Hope you’re doing well!

    1. thank you for the lovely surprise! and I’m pleased you found this post inspiring, nothing better than knowing that your own growth is helping others πŸ™‚

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