Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Staying Positive

It's hard, isn't it? It feels like the cards are stacked against us. There are so many highs and lows, and sometimes it feels like there's a whole lot more lows than there is highs.

I was doing okay. I won Honorable Mention in S.E. Slinkhorn's Mash-Up Contest last week, which definitely put a smile on my face. I got an email that I was a finalist in the Women on Writing's contest, so that perked me up a bit, too. I've been getting positive feedback from readers of my latest two projects, and that helped me feel like I was on the right track - that maybe I don't totally suck when I write more than a page of crazy rant stuff (e.i. my shorts).

Then it happened. I got my last partial request back with a rejection. I wanted to stay positive. I know it's subjective. But as I pondered agents in querytracker tonight, I got a huge dose of the why-am-I-even-bothering blues. I had 7 total requests out of 40 queries, and still have 23 queries waiting for a response. I expect many of those to never have a response at all.

To be positive, I try to think of that as 11% positive response. There was *something there* which interested agents, I just lacked *something else* which kept their attention. I'm trying to not think it's my writing. None of the 7 had a word of feedback for me, so I have nothing to go on. Just my own insecurities whispering in my ear. I'm wondering how old I will be when I finally get published. I'm wondering what the publishing landscape will look like by then. I'm wondering why no one who loves me hasn't won the lottery and rescued me from my day job.

Okay, that one I wonder at least twice an hour M-F, so it doesn't count right now.

So tell me, how do you guys stay positive? Supportive friends? Certainty of superiority? Alcohol? Prescription medication?


Terry Towery said...

Basically, I wallow in self pity until I can't stand myself any longer -- and then I call or e-mail a friend and rub their face in my self pity.

Whatever gets you through the night! You WILL get published. Hang in there.

Oh,and I got my first partial request today -- and not from the one you would think. Ah, a whole new level of insecurity.

The Words Crafter said...

Look at it this way. At least you've written and completed a book. I haven't gotten anywhere near that far. I have done something before and was completely rejected by everyone out there, so....

I like the wallowing in self pity. But hopefully, you'll realize that those whispering voices are liars and that you are talented. And you will be published while you're still young enough to enjoy it *wink*

We're still here for you if you feel like yelling, crying, blaming, etc. And remember, one day all those rejection-ers will regret turning you down. They may even get fired when your book hits the bestseller list in the NY Times. ]

In the meantime, some ice cream, Long Island Tea, pizza, movies, pajama days...all these are good wallowing/comforting choices you could choose from.

Anonymous said...

I have felt like this time and again. My usual routine is to cry, take a nap, and wake up realizing that yes, it sucked, but I have to keep going.

I'm not going to tell you to stay positive, because I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of that, and how empty it can seem, regardless of the other person's intent. What I can tell you is to keep going, because I know firsthand that things can take a turn for the better when you least expect it.

Unknown said...


It can definitely feel like a bunch of crap sometimes. I don't think I have a concrete method for dealing... I just kind of do it. Allow myself to feel bad, grump for a while, then pick myself up and push through it again. Sorry you're feeling down, Christi :(

Emily White said...

Sometimes alcohol, but mostly I just try to ignore the rejections and find someone else to send it to.

This business is *very* hard. I'm sorry you're feeling so down and I wish I had something super encouraging to say to you. What I *do* know is that you are a great writer and you *will* get published some day.

Christine Danek said...

I try to use any negative responses as fuel to prove them wrong. It keeps me going. I'm not at the query stage yet but anything that's negative does hurt. I have to use it in some other form to help me continue.
You have done well in the contests and have completed a novel be proud of what you have accomplished.
Chocolate and alcohol help me too.
You will get there. Good luck!

Hannah said...

I have no idea how I say positive. I have supportive friends but we don't gush on each other's writing. We just encourage each other to keep writing and to push ourselves to get better.

The Man is pretty supportive and he's always pushing me to write. When he reads what I've been working on, he'll say, "hmm, that's not too bad." In Minnesotan, that means he liked it and he's a tough critic.

vic caswell said...

i haven't really started querying (i decided i needed to rewrite 2/3rds of the wip before it would be ready for other eyes!) but i'm really scared about hitting the downs when the r's start rolling in.
i've critted a few people's work, and been shocked at just how wonderful it is, and then found them getting R afer R after R...
it's so shocking! especially the R's on partials- because i always think "what's wrong with that agent?!?! how can they not see the brilliance there!?!?!"
sometimes i think it's more about what they can sell than what is good...

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Why bother?

Why knock on a door that's locked on the inside with only sadists home?

I've asked those questions like you have.


The dream.

She beckons us like first love, toys with us, only to spurn us with callous rejections.

We leave disillusioned. We return, for life without the dream is empty, pointless.

We were never promised certain success. We hoped the query would be quickly answered. It hasn't been for either of us.

But we have grown ... in our craft and as human beings. We write better now because we incorporate our pain, our loneliness into our prose. We can stretch out a hand to fallen comrades with empathic understanding, helping them back up to their feet.

Why go on?

Because that is where the dream is ... on the horizon.

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