Ouch...Rejection Hurts

In the beginning of my fiction writing career, I wrote five novels and had them all rejected. My motivation dived and I though I would never pick up a pen again. So how did I keep my motivation going to write that next novel and win that publishing contract?

Motivation helps us to achieve our dreams.

Motivation helps us to achieve our dreams.

I knew I wanted to be a writer. Ever since I started reading in year one at school, words had captured my heart and I had to read every day. I loved writing stories and I would get carried away in my own little world. My teachers said I had a vivid imagination and encouraged me to keep writing stories.

The journey to publication has been one of the most difficult adventures of my life. My first five novels were rejected. It hurt and with each subsequent novel I wrote after each rejection, the writing became harder. Once I realised my first five novels were my apprenticeship and that  I had to learn how to write scenes that had a beginning, a middle and an ending; and the ending of the scene, had to hook my reader so that she had to keep reading the next scene and the one after that, until she finished the book, I was on my way to achieving my dream.

I learned how to create characters and how to develop them throughout the story so that they had grown by the end of the story. I learned how to structure my story of where the crucial high and low points of the story occurred. In this apprenticeship there was a lot for me to learn.

So how did I deal with the rejection letters? I gave myself permission to be disappointed and to shed a few tears. Life is about rolling with the good and bad times and being emotionally honest during those times. In the privacy of my own home, the next step was getting mad at the editor for rejecting me, and then mad at myself for being so naiive thinking all I had to do was write a couple of drafts of a book and send it off to a publisher. I was on a steep learning curve. After I nursed the hurt, I asked myself why I was writing and was I prepared to put the extra hard yards into the work?

I write because I feel compelled to write. A day without writing is like cutting off my right hand. I'm useless. I wander around lost and confused. There is nothing else I'd rather be doing than writing. I also write to entertain and to encourage people in their own life's journey. So, that left me with no alternative than to learn all I could about the writing craft and keep practising until I became published. I am a determined person and I don't accept defeat easily. I read every book I could get my hands on to learn my craft.

Because of my perseverance I was rewarded with a contract for African Hearts. What a thrill that was, but success came twenty long years after I started writing. I knew I wanted to succeed but I had to get over the pain of rejection first, develop a thick skin and believe that I could do the job. The most important lesson I learned was to keep writing, every spare minute I had every day.

Do you believe you have the perseverance to be a published writer? How have you handled your rejection letters? What motivated you? I'd like to hear your story.

2013...Your Second Chance...or Third...

It's 2013 and despite the discussions last year that the world was going to end on December 21, we're still here. Does that mean we've all been given a second chance?

Sometimes we feel we've been thrown in the deep end of life and something bad has happened that rips our confidence out of the core of us. Have you ever been in that place? I guarantee every person on this planet has been there and sometimes it hurts so bad, we wonder if we will ever recover.

I don't know about you, I believe in second chances, or third or fourth. When I've been knocked down I have the choice to reach out and take hold of whatever is offered, a hand, rope, inner strength, whatever you want to call it, and know that I can get up and try again, or I can choose to wallow in my own self pity and let life pass me by.

Yes, you have worked your heart out in 2012 to write that novel and you received a rejection from the agent or publisher of your dreams just before Christmas. So now you feel you just can't get out of bed because you feel you've failed. Have you failed? Or you got the rejection because the market isn't ready for your work, or maybe you might just need a little more time to practise and hone your craft? When a publisher or agent says 'no', it's easy to feel hurt and unappreciated. Feeling hurt and unappreciated is the writer's life. Writers need to grow a thick skin.

When I started my writing career, I wrote five books. Hours and hours of time sitting at my desk handwriting, and typing my stories up on a portable typewriter, then I graduated to a basic wordprocessor and then came the computer. I lost contact with friends, I had to write ... nobody understood why I had to write. Some of my friends still don't understand why I leave the real world to enter my imaginary world to tap on a keyboard. I need to write every day, so that I feel sane and calm at the end of the day. It's an inner obsession I just can't ignore or I'm difficult to live with. Early in my writing career my compulsion had been fed, but my work was still being rejected. Why?

Rejection means I'll try harder next time.

Rejection means I'll try harder next time.

In my next post I'm going to share how I overcame rejection and continued the journey into my writing life. Until then, keep writing!! Don't give up!!

Are you in the doldrums with your writing? Unsure of where to turn next? I'd like to hear from you. This year I want to help you achieve your writing dreams.