Rejection sucks. There is simply no other way to put it. I mean even when it’s not personal it feels like it’s personal and that just makes you feel like somehow you weren’t any good.
Okay, so backstory, I recently sent out a query letter for a novel that I completed. It was probably one of the most terrifying moments of my life. Not in the sense of getting hurt at least not physically. But in the fear that no one will understand the feelings that I tried to convey through that story.
Now keep in mind that I had finished this novel sometime around the end of last year. Since then I have been working up my courage to actually send it to an agent. I’d kept second-guessing and tweaking my query. Which, I guess was just a method of my procrastination, but I finally plucked up my courage and hit send.
Now the agent that I sent it to was perfectly nice. Her rejection wasn’t mean or harsh; in fact, it was possibly one of the nicest things out there which made it even worse. Her words were kind and she seemed nice. I could have imagined myself having a great relationship with her, and the imagining part is something I’m very good at. This can be a bad thing sometimes because I work up these make-believe scenarios in my head that will possibly never happen. But I’m okay with that.
So here I was waiting. Every time an email notification pinged I wondered if it would be an answer to my query. Now they’d said that the average time to expect a response was about six to eight weeks. I got a response in about a week and a half. Now given the circumstances and if it were positive news I’m sure that that length of time would have been ideal. Now it wasn’t.
See that little opening in my heart that cracked when I sent that query was still very much raw and exposed. It hadn’t calloused over yet so I didn’t think I was fully prepared for the answer. That answer being one of rejection hit me in waves of disappointment that tightened in the pit of my stomach.
I didn’t realize just how much hope I had sent that letter out with. Or maybe I did and wasn’t ready to admit it to myself yet. I kept telling myself that it was okay if they didn’t like it. I was lying to myself. I desperately wanted them to like it. I wanted to hear that my creative efforts were enough and to feel validated. That the two years of my life that I had spent working on it wouldn’t feel as underwhelming as it did in that moment.
So the absolute rolling disappointment that I felt when I read the words that I wasn’t what she was looking for made me feel inadequate. I mean my immediate reaction to that was to wonder why she didn’t like it and what I should change for her to. I thought that if I changed it, it would somehow be better and make her want to represent me.
I think though that this was a good lesson. I truly believe that now; even if it didn’t feel like that when I read that letter. My novel won’t be right for everyone. In fact, there might be people out there that will hate my creative vision. That’s okay. It’s not that it wasn’t any good. It just wasn’t what she had been looking for.
Would I have liked to be one of those writers who can say that their query had been accepted on the first attempt? Of course I would, I mean who wouldn’t? But there are also those that have tried and got rejected countless times before finding one that would be the right fit for them.
I’m sure that I have a lot more rejection to face, and it’ll hurt. I imagine that it will chip away at my self-confidence with each ‘No’. But I’ll just have to keep that drive and keep pushing because I want it.
I want to one day be a published author. There, in my desires, in the depths of my soul, I want that to be a reality.
It makes me think about that creature in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them. The one that will grow only to the space that it is in. It could fill an entire warehouse or fit into a tiny teapot.
I don’t want to be in a teapot all my life.
I want to experience things. While fear and disappointment are hard to face, I’ll have to because they are mine and no one else’s. If I am alive and feel things like love and happiness then those negative emotions have a right to be felt as well. They are also a part of me, I cannot deny them simply because I wish to. I just have to ensure that they don’t control me to the point of not trying.
So I will keep on trying simply because I don’t want to give up on my dream. However hard it might be until I find that one person who will tell me yes.
When I was growing up I always loved reading. It was due to the encouragement of my English Language teacher that I started writing stories when I was twelve. They were nothing more than fanciful representations of my adolescent thoughts. But it was truly where my love of words and creating developed. I was fascinated with the idea that I could imagine an entire new world in my head and through the power of the written word share those ideas.
As I got older I realized that the only way I could be truly happy with my life, and make an impact in the way that I wanted, was to nurture that dream. That dream I always had tucked away secretly in the back of my mind to be a writer.