Rejection. Hmm, it sucks, doesn't it?
It always leaves me feeling deflated and depressed. A little flattened, if you will...as if someone has taken a mallet and pounded my heart into a fleshy pancake. And I hate pancakes. (No, really, it's true. I also hate waffles and French toast. I'm weird.)
When rejections come my way, I often do three things:
1.) Eat unhealthy amounts of ice cream and Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
2.) Work on a new book to focus on something else. (Jim told me he thinks my WIP sounds "FABULOUS!" And he actually typed it in all caps!)
3.) Re-read Shannon Hale's biography on her website.
I love me some Shannon Hale. She's the author of books like The Goose Girl and Princess Academy, and her blog is funny, funny, funny. Additionally, her path to becoming a published author has taken some interesting twists and turns that I find oh-so-inspiring. Here's what she wrote about getting an MFA at the University of Montana:
Unfortunately, I wasn't offered a teaching assistantship [in my MFA program]. Those with teaching assistantships teach undergrad classes and get free tuition. When I asked the department head how they chose which students got to be TAs, she told me they were granted based on who they thought were the best writers. She looked away politely while I tried not to cry.
By my second year, I was the only one in my group who wasn't a TA--effectively, I was considered the worst writer in the program. This stung, yes, quite a lot. (Incidentally, I believe I'm the only one of the group now to have published multiple books by a major publisher, let alone spend time on the New York Times Best Seller list.) All I'm saying is, I was never considered the best or the brightest at any stage in my education, and that's never a good indication of whether or not you've got what it takes.
Wow, good for her for not giving up, eh? And here's another snippet that I find oh-so-inspiring too:
By summer of 2001 I'd found an agent to represent my novel--a real miracle in and of itself. Amy thought it was a young adult book and she began to shop it to the big children's publishers over the next several months. They rejected it again and again--nine rejections in all. It was an exciting and emotionally exhausting year. I had an agent! And she was sending out my novel! And everyone hated it...and said no, no, no...
Now seven years later, The Goose Girl remains my most popular novel, has gone through many printings, translated into several languages, earned several awards, and inspired three sequels. I think it goes to show that rejection doesn't always mean "You stink!" It can mean, "You haven't found your home yet. Keep looking.
Ahhhh. Thank you so much for sharing that, Ms. Hale. It brings some warm fuzzies into my heart on this cold November morning.