Several years ago, I was almost "there.” You know where I'm talking about. With Manuscript Number Five, I knew I had a winner. I had submitted plenty, learned with each manuscript I wrote, and the rejection letters I had received had all been encouraging--personal letters that let me down easy while buoying my spirits.
On Number Five, I researched the line, the market, and the editor. I queried and received an enthusiastic response for a partial. The friends at the pub where I wrote rejoiced with me and made me promise to give them "autographed first editions."
I polished. I edited. I polished again. I edited. And sent it off.
I knew this was the one. I knew it.
And then, a few months later, I received the rejection. A form rejection, no less.
Devastation engulfed me. Humiliation swamped me. Hurt, well, hurt me. I shook my fist at the sky and yelled “As God as my witness, I’ll never write another word again.”
And I didn’t.
For about six months. Then one day, I overheard two women gossiping in the grocery line and thought "Stupid women. What if that were my best friend they were talking about?" Before I could stop it, a scene started playing out in my head. I shook my head to clear it, and said to myself “I’m NOT doing that again.” But when I got home, I wandered to my computer and opened up a new Word document. I stared at the blank page for awhile. Finally I made a deal with myself. “Just because I write down that scene, doesn’t mean I’m writing again. I'll just delete it.”
But I didn’t delete it. There was something about writing those words that sent a fresh breeze stirring the tired, depressed writing genes in my body.
I took a deep breath and started. Writing. Again.
I am a stronger writer now. I am a realistic writer now. I know the road to publication is rocky, full of potholes, and filled with blind allies.
I have a new respect for all authors. Some come by success easily. Some struggle for years. Some never achieve the success they deserve.
But not a single one ever stops writing.