A friend I’ve recently reconnected with, and the founder of the Megaphone Society has recently published a book with her mother. I love her account of the rush she got from pushing that final button to make it all happen. I was particularly inspired by her fathers two important words that encouraged her to get the job done – “So what.”
I submitted my novel to print today. It began with light butterflies, they danced merrily in circles, completely manageable and dismissible, I brushed them off. I went through the printers submission check list, 1-15 all good…(gulp)…I think. In that moment it all halted like a freight train crashing into a mountain. Wham! In an instant the butterflies turned into razor-winged devil creatures zipping about my stomach in a panicked state. I started to second guess myself. I started to second guess EVERYTHING.
Did I get the right CMYK build of black for every single item? Did my darn bar code work? Did my dedication make sense? Did I get the contact info perfect? The list went on and on and on. Was it perfect? Oh Geeze, I suddenly needed another week to comb over everything one last time (Even though I had already done that a kazillion times)…
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If there is one thing I’ve earned through the process of writing thus far it is thick skin. I have only been submitting my manuscript for around three months. I’ve received eight rejections and about half as many no-replies which in mathematical terms is equal to a rejection. I remember waiting so long for my first reply that I was thrilled to get my first rejection. It was a form of communication, from a real agent! I’ve become interested in the different methods of rejection. Most are polite form letters that gently regard the sensitive soul of the author. One even mentioned the name of my book on lovely parchment. It was a beautiful sight. I found that the initial luster of receiving a piece of paper touched by the determiner of my fate had faded. I grew tired of the delicate dismissals and found myself wanting a good reaming. Tell me WHY! And here it came, in the most mild of forms. My most recent rejection was more direct – “I didn’t connect with your writing.” At first I responded by shrugging and quickly closing the message but I was surprised by the emotions that followed. I burning sensation – was it embarrassment? The urge to cry? Anger? Perhaps all three combined. I had to open the email and read it again….and again, trying to read into the words. I don’t know which is more torturous, not knowing at all why you’ve been rejected or being given only a glimpse of why you been rejected. It’s that feeling you get when you ask your best friend, “Does this make me look fat?” and there’s that cock-eyed pause before the answer.
Rejections are the growing pains of an author. When you start to look at them less as rejections and more as a shoe fitting, the process becomes more tolerable. You might try on twenty pairs before you find those Jimmy Choos that are both fabulous and comfortable! When the process is over I may resemble a thick skinned Armadillo but I will be the Armadillo with super stellar kicks!
Nothing gets me jazzed up more (jazzed up….do people still say that?) than when people tell me about their experiences with writing. Are you published? Did you take the traditional route of querying an agent or did you land an editor another way? Are you self publishing? Have you entered contests? Talk to me about this whole e-book phenomenon! Your stories are interesting to me and I learn so much by listening, so share, share, share!!!
There are plenty of names out there for people like me: distracted, dreamer, unrealistic, ADD. Maybe you’re like me. We’re the type who carries around our bucket lists, scribbling notes about everything that we want to try once, before we die. For instance, I went to a concert not too long ago where this chick was playing the drums like Animal from the Muppets. “I’m going to try that,” I thought. “I’m going to learn to play the drums.” The next week I went to a garage sale, bought a set of drums and banged them until my six-year-old threatened to move out. Did I learn to play? Certainly. Did I learn to play well? If you were paying attention you’ll see that wasn’t part of my goal, but my husband loves to give the answer to that question.
Just before I turned thirty I decided to go to College so I could teach. I ended up getting a degree in Psychology along the way somehow and on the journey I started to realize something. There are no limits, there are only priorities. I was suddenly flooded with desires, I wanted to finish my degree, get my teacher’s certification, learn to play the guitar, join a band, start a photography business, take more time to paint and write a book. In the past three years since graduating I’ve done it all….but not at the same time.
It’s like sitting in front of a buffet full of your favorite foods. Shove them into your mouth and try to swallow them all at once and you’ll be one sick puppy. Eat them one at a time, savor them and while you do think about how fun it will be to do it all over again with a new flavor in about two hours.
One quote I’ve come upon while writing my first novel, which I’ll fill you in about soon, is my current inspiration. It goes like this: For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci. The second I realized that the sensational moments are not reserved for a select group of individuals with the right last name or a certain number of clams in the bank, I couldn’t NOT try the things I desired to do!
My most recent venture is my journey with writing. It has been the most exciting yet! My future blogs will be to tell you about my journey and hopefully inspire you in your own. Though I’ve become a more confident artist in many mediums over the past years, I have moments where I ask myself, “WHAT THE HECTOR ZARONI am I doing? Is this the right choice?” And lately I’ve replied with, as long as I’m following my heart, avoiding regret and maintaining what I stand for as a person then the answer is – I’m living! I might be diagnosable, but I’m loving every minute of it.