Don't Stop Believin'

About a year ago, I received a rejection from one of the top agents in the industry. The email itself was short and polite. Something along the lines of, "Although we liked X and Y about your book, we don't feel like it's right for our list at this time." 

Just a couple of sentences. I was crushed. 

I'd received rejections before (over forty, in fact) but this was the first time I had gotten one on a full manuscript request. It hurt like the seventh pit of hell, and I ended up crumpling into the arms of my husband. I cried for over an hour that night. Tears. Snot. The works. (The sleeve of my sweater was doused in bodily fluids by the end of the evening.) In a desperate attempt to make me feel better, my sweet husband looked me in the eye and said, "Maybe you should take a break from this writing thing. If it's giving you so much grief...." 

His words made total sense, but my entire body rebelled against the sentiment. Give up writing? Give up on my book? NEVER! Despite the sadness wracking through my body, I believed in my little book. I believed in it a whole lot. Sure, maybe it needed more work---okay, it needed a lot of work---but I wasn't going to give up on it. Over my dead and out-of-shape body!

Almost a year has passed since that night but I still think about it quite often. I'm really, really glad that I didn't give up. And I'm really, really glad that I kept revising and rewriting and revising my manuscript. Because four months later, I received three offers of representation. And now, my book is on submission to editors. Of course, I realize that my book may never sell...but I remain mighty proud of it. It may have flaws. It may be silly and geeky. But it's mine and I believed in it and I still believe in it today. 

So the point of this post is...don't stop believing in your work. We writers are a sensitive bunch. We try to surround ourselves with a network of family, friends, and fellow writers who cheer us on when the rejections pile up and when the going gets tough. But these people aren't enough.

At the end of the day, YOU have to believe in your own work. You are the key ingredient here. You can have the entire world supporting you, but it doesn't mean a thing if you throw your hands into the air and say "I can't do this. I'm not cut out for it." You have to be your biggest cheerleader because nobody else can write this book. Only you.

Believe in your book. 
Believe in your abilities. 
Believe in you

*Cue Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'"*

Now go finish your book and kick some ass!