Springing forward and bouncing back

As a native Texan, March and April are truly difficult months for me to suffer through on the prairies of Canada. The allergies are just the icing on the cake.

Back home, fields are bursting with indigo and coral blossoms of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes, the temperatures are in the balmy 70s, and patios all over town are full of brunch-goers.

Up here, just when you get a short glimpse of spring for a day, or even a week, those hopes are dashed forthwith when the next blizzard moves in. It is now the second week of April, and we’ve had warmer temperatures for a few days. I planted about a hundred bulbs last fall, and I keep hoping for a view of little green sprouts. But at the same time, I worry that another blizzard will move through and kill them all. It’s kind of a parallel with what’s going on in real life.

I’m dealing with a recent rejection. A process that began in October and ended last week. A partial request turned into a full request. That full request turned into my very first revise and resubmit. I was so excited. I thought Olive might finally see the light of day. During the heaviest part of winter this year, I barely noticed the blizzards (for the first time ever). I had a purpose. I worked, nose to the grindstone, for two months, adding, polishing, and polishing again.

When I got the rejection, even though I had hoped for comments or observations on all that work I’d put in, I got nothing. I expect that with queries, but with an R & R? It was like a blizzard on top of newly sprouted tulips. I just shake my head anymore.

Querying can be a painful, soul-killing process, and the search for an agent has been a massively character-building experience for me. Every morning, I trudge into the lobby of my building, pull out my manuscript and notebook, and begin marking it up, or adding more content. And every lunch period, I do the same thing. At night, if I have the energy, I transcribe what I’ve written or tweak the material I had questions on. Everyone tells me that good writers are a dime a dozen. It’s hard work that gets the job done, they say. I’ve had readers, beta readers, and writers group members tell me my stuff is good– VERY good. I’m convinced that this is going to happen. Giving up is not an option.

Are you like me? Discouraged? Down at the mouth? A little sad? Fine. You’re allowed. Have your pity party– make it ice cream, red wine, Bailey’s– name your poison. My wonderful husband took me out to a great Scotch bar near our house, and we had appies. He had a fine aged Scotch, and I had two giant glasses of a great Malbec. We discussed strategies and what I should do next. He’s my greatest ally.

After this party, pull on your big girl or big boy panties, and get your ass back to work.

The night after my ugly R, it seemed like I was wearing a scarlet letter. I thought anyone who looked at me could see what a big fat loser I was. But you know what I did? I went to my writers’ group and shared a newer piece with them (the one I’ve been working on as the successor to my rejection piece). I have an awesome writers group– very supportive and they provide awesome, constructive comments. Hearing the great remarks they made, and knowing that I’m onto something good gave me the shot in the arm I needed to keep going.

Use whatever works for you– positive self-talk, a night out with the girls, pampering, a week off work if you can spare it. You HAVE to do it. Just keep writing. If you want to succeed, you WILL do it.If I can do it, so can you. Be the tulip.


                                  Lovely tulips in snow from sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net

What’s your most painful rejection story?


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