Appreciating Your Armor

Querying is a tough business. It makes you question everything. Well, unless you're one of the lucky few who had agents clamoring over your manuscripts and rejection was just an afterthought. I'm sure those people exist, but for most of us, rejection is inevitable.

Like most, I took those first few rejections rough. It can be tough when your bubble bursts. Well, the first one I was kind of glad to get. It was a life accomplishment unlocked. "See, I got rejected and I didn't die!" It was when I got five rejections in six days that the doubt crept in.

It's never easy to put yourself out there, no matter the arena. It can be harder to take when it's your art out there. Especially when you've made it the best you can and it's still not good enough. When I started to get a second round of rejections, I looked at my manuscript again. Tweaked my query again. Then I had a moment of peace when it occurred to me that this book may not be the one. I read my query, synopsis and first pages again. I found nowhere else to pick. This book and query is as good as I can make it right now. If that isn't good enough, I will have to be at peace about it. It's been three years. It will sadden me to move on, but at this point, I don't see another choice.

I know that it's not me, it is the book. That this book might be too different, or a harsher reality, not just good enough yet. Maggie Stiefvater always has great advice for writers. Her post about not being good enough yet sums up where I am with this book right now.

It is so much easier to give up. Sure, sometimes I get angry when yet another rejection rolls in. I use that anger as a motivator. Same as I use jealousy. I believe jealousy is a pretty useless emotion-unless used to push you forward. Don't pay attention to what other people are doing, unless to say "hey, x is doing it, so why can't I? I may not get a book deal as big as theirs. The only way I'll ensure never getting a book deal is by giving up."

My armor still has some chinks in it. I think it always will. Getting an agent, then getting published is only part of the journey. The doubt, the hustle, never really stops. And I'm okay with that.