I’m grateful today to have Lori Freeland on my blog. She’s one of the most generous writers I know. She helps other writers without complaint, and she’s a gem of a person. Follow her on Twitter. Check out her Facebook page.
Fear is my word of the day.
Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear to finish my novel. Fear not to finish my novel.
Write blog posts. Hide. Produce articles. Give them away free. Read writing tips. Edit my friend’s books. Teach. Lead critique groups. Read writing books. Build up Facebook likes. Share. Tweet. Pin. Read writing articles.
Single-spaced, at 8-point font, my Stay Busy list could fill this page and probably the next.
I’ve discovered the secret to avoid the rocks piling in my stomach at the thought of querying and receiving rebuff upon rebuff. Rewrite forever. Draw it out. That way, I’ll never have to send my manuscript to anyone. And I’ll never have to deal with the heart-drop-to-the-floor, breath-cut-off gut punch that is rejection.
Yesterday, the little part inside of me not held hostage by fear cornered me and asked, “Do you really want to spend the rest of your life wondering what if?”
What if my book doesn’t suck? What if an agent likes it? What if that agent sells it? What if I sat on this story forever and never knew its potential? What if it actually has potential? What if I do too?
I have three manuscripts from the early 90’s taking up space on my closet floor, back when we printed everything hard copy and queried through the US Postal Service, three novels in a series begging for edits on my current hard drive, and five working ideas rattling my head, screaming for release.
To date, I am the not-so-proud owner of two agent rejections to match two of my novels—one from 1993 and one from now.
The first rejection came from John Grisham’s agent for my very first book, Midnight’s Darkest Shadows, a historical romance. The agent’s comment? Here’s the recap. “You have potential. Add more sex. Send it back.”
Huh. I’m not really a take-you-behind-closed-doors kind of author, so I pinned that to my wall, got pregnant—look at the irony in that—and quit writing. For twenty years.
The second rejection came from an up-and-coming agent in New York with a well-established agency. The recap of what she said? “There’s so much I love about this book, but it sounds similar to one I just sold and another sitting on my desk. Do you have anything else?”
What did I do with that? Cried a little. Okay. A lot. Filed it under rejections in my email. And started rewriting the book. Again. This will be my fourth time.
Sounds like hiding, doesn’t it? My husband and thirty-seven of my closest friends and critique buddies would agree.
Can you relate?
I need to be okay with failure. And rejections. And emails that say, “Thank you very much, but I’m not interested at this time.” I need to stop letting one negative comment massacre the twenty positive encouragements. I need to stop being afraid and walk forward.
Thank goodness, I don’t have to do that alone.
This is my Friday prayer for you and for me.
Lord, walk before me. Let me follow where You lead and feel the peace You offer. Let me know when the timing is right and catch me when I fall. Because I know I will. And I need it to be okay that I do. Thank You that perfect love casts out fear and that your love is perfect, even when mine is not.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (I John 4:18 NKJV).