Dealing With Rejection

Ok, so here I am, back from a spring vacation relaxed, recharged and rejected again.

I wasn’t prepared for how much the rejections would affect me. I have a thick skin and broad shoulders. I rarely let my ego take part in any of my arguments or achievements and I know I can do anything I set my mind to, but writing is different. I’ve never wanted to succeed in something as bad as I do for writing. It’s a new concept for me.  Which is why I think the rejections sting so much.

I write not for the money or fame but because I find the exhilaration of writing a strong piece intoxicating. I can’t get enough of it. I don’t want readers to say “Oh, that was nice.” I write instead for the “Holy shit, you scared the crap out of me!” Or, “I felt so sorry for the character.” And “I could see the whole thing. When I read I didn’t see a word on the page, I saw it play out in my head instead.”

That, is why I write. Formulaic is not even a consideration.

Lately I have been questioning whether I have “it” or not. And I’m not alone in this. A number of excellent writers that I went through the Novel Approach course with are feeling the same way. At first I thought it was today’s FOX Broadcasting style Publishing market, but I realize it is because we are all still new to the game. We are all still experiencing growing pains and rejection for the first time.

Who said writing was easy?

So, I have sent my letters out to four agents and two publishers and so far I’ve received two responses. Thank-you Hilary McMahon of Westwood Creative Artists and Jessica Faust of BookEnds, LLC for responding and for doing so personally. A lot of other agents and publishers could learn a thing or two from you. I should be happy that with so little sent out and for someone so new two publishers asked for copies right away. From what I’ve heard, that’s a rare feat. Now if only they’ll respond…

I guess I’m at the next step in my development, learning what to do with a completed novels and distancing myself from it enough to not let it interfere with the creative process for the second novel. I find myself sitting and stewing and doing very little writing. I am encouraged by my writing community and my slowly growing readers, but it is still an emotional rollercoaster.

I take solace in words from Ruth Walker. She said that writing isn’t always about the actual act, but a lot of it is the mental process, the vortex of words and images that swirl around in a writers head. The veritable Big Bang from which novels and stories emerge. I’m just worried that staring into that vortex for too long may overwhelm me.

For now though, the vortex has spit out the name of the town in which the majority of Appetites is set. I didn’t want to use an actual town and felt that a made-up town was too… made-up. But then that’s what writing is, isn’t it.

As soon as I had the name, the town jumped into full focus. A conglomeration of various towns I’ve been to.

Welcome to historic Luna Falls, one of Ontario’s oldest towns and home to Dunnco Tires. Dunnco tires, supplying your tire needs since 1912.

It is so vivid, in fact, that I can walk its streets, and it suits my needs perfectly without feeling fake.

Feeling fake. I’ve felt that. But I won’t let that or any future rejections stop me.


About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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10 Responses to Dealing With Rejection

  1. Dave says:

    Dale, you’re right. We’re just newbies to rejection. I guess we all hope for the gloriy of a publisher beingknocked off their seat when we submit but the reality is something else.
    Keep at it buddy. BTW, there is a town called Luna just outside of Mactier.

  2. Dave says:

    Just kiddin’. Never heard of a Luna before. HA! I kill myself.

  3. Lisa Llamrei says:

    Writing’s not easy. Rejection isn’t easy. But all of the famous writers we read were rejected multiple times. They got through it and so will we.

    If it’s any consolation, I’m having the same difficulty concentrating on my second novel. I was able to turn off my inner critic most of the time while writing “Lifetimes”, but it’s back in full force now.

    • Dale Long says:

      I keep hearing that but until now it’s never registered. I never thought it would be so hard to accept. Expecially when I get such great feedback. Like I said, I never wanted anything, and job, any carreer more than this. Never thought I could want something that bad.

      But I’m resiliant. And I have you guys. And you are going through the same thing.

      Can’t wait for Lifetimes to be finished.

      • Lisa Llamrei says:

        “Lifetimes” is finished. I’m working on “Circles” right now. You’ll see the next 20 pages by Monday.

        Although it was a rejection, you did get great feedback from the one agent. I noted that, although she had issues with your structure, she did not at all criticize the quality of the writing.

      • Dale Long says:

        Ooops, I meant Circles…

        Thanks, Lisa, I never thought of that.

  4. Hi Dale,

    Ah, rejection from an agent. Feels about as good as rejection from a lover.

    But who are we kidding? You’re still married to your highschool sweetheart, so you don’t know how that feels! Let me fill you in – it feels about as crappy as rejection from an agent. Only it’s your face or body or disposition or baggage they don’t like instead of your story structure or genre.

    My point? Rejection sucks.

    But, just like how rejection in love means you tried, the same can be said for writing. In love, you learn, you get stronger; you go out and get a little action on the side to feed your ego. Again – rejection in writing leads to the same. If you’re open to it, you learn from the feedback. You get stronger (or at least a little tougher) and a little action on the side never hurts – the action that is, being more writing. You’ve got your blog, you’ve got a great community with forums to present or read your work. Show that inner critic whose boss and don’t let it get you down.

    At the very least, you are not alone dear friend.

    • Dale Long says:

      For the record, that’s two agents that have rejected it and two that haven’t bothered to respond. But again, it’s all about this new learning curve. Sure it’s talked about, but unitl you go through it, it’s just that… words.

      Well I’m in the thick of it now and my best course of action is, like Odysseus, to tie myself to the mast and forge on. Good thing the crew is loyal… 😉

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