I sent out my first ever set of queries to agents back on March 7th. And while at times I feel like I'm waiting for nothing, I have learned a couple things in the past few months.
1-There is a such thing as a good rejection: I've had lots and lots of those form rejections (who hasn't?), but I've also had a handful of rejections that gave me just enough feedback to confirm that my writing is good enough to be publishable, even if maybe this particular story wasn't their cup of tea. And while a rejection is still a no, there are those that make you want to keep going.
2- There isn't really any such thing as a bad rejection: Like I said, a rejection is a no. It doesn't move your career along any further. It leaves you right where you started. But it also doesn't put you in a worse position that you were in before. Don't get me wrong, the first couple were hard. They evoked that lovely punch-to-the-gut feeling that's usually reserved for deaths and large roller coasters. I still get that sinking feeling when there's an email in my inbox from one agency or another, but it doesn't bother me so much anymore. Because the truth is, the rejections don't hurt anything but your pride. There's no limit to the number you can get before someone says 'yes.' I'm not using up chances. Even the most ridiculously vague ones that leave you doubting everything about your story--they don't actually do anything but leave you right where you were before.
3-When an agent says they will read your full "this weekend" or "soon" or "right away," what they really mean is "sometime this year, maybe, if I get around to it. Or maybe that's what they just mean when they tell me that. All I know is that they seem to have their own special version of time.
4- Patience is a virtue I do not posses. Oh, wait. I knew that one already.
5-The thing that makes the wait for rejection bearable is writing: People tell you this, but you don't really realize how true it is until you're on your second month of waiting (like I said, no patience) and you realize that no one is ever going to take your manuscript, and what are you going to do now? You come up with another one, so you can start the whole thing again.
How about you? Are you waiting for The Call? What do you do to keep your sanity when the email dings? What has rejection taught you?