Rejection sucks! Is there something in the human body that sends out a flood of horrid hormones when the sudden bad news hits? Because, honestly, the moment the words hit my eyeballs, I feel totally sick to my stomach, I am dizzy, depressed, and I suddenly start snapping at whoever is in my path about absolutely nothing ("Why is there only one barrette in your head? Can we not keep two barrettes in your hair? They're like lost socks in the dryer, for goodness sakes. Am I made of money that I should keep buying more? Next time you wear pink you're just going to have to wear one pink and one purple, because I am not buying more! Do you hear me??")
I get a full-on headache that feels like some construction worker just started a jackhammer in my skull. My entire motivation to power on is sucked dry. I immediately go to that bad place. ("I'm not ever going to make it! I'm a horrible writer!")
No, I didn't start sending queries again, but for those of you out there who are, I feel your pain. I forget, sometimes, those brief minutes - or hours - after a rejection when everything in you shuts down. It may not take long to bounce back, but that period of time before the resiliency is worse than awful.
This all started tonight when I returned from a very pleasant and unexpected night out when I had a great conversation with my husband about a really positive critique I'd gotten on a submission to my Formerly Lame Internet writing group (heretofore called my FLI group). I was feeling confident. My husband told me I need to stop saying all the time that there are a million better writers out there and that the odds are stacked against me. I started to listen.
Then I opened my email. And there, in all it's ugliness, was one of the worst critiques you could set your eyes on. Not only a slaughter of my writing, but rude and snarky comments as well, such as "Can I suggest you Buy a copy of Bobbie Christmas “Write in Style” and study it in depth" and "I suggest you read aloud to yourself and then edit before exposing your work to a critical audeicne." (The typos are his) Here's another favorite: "Same problem with this sentence, three commas + And. Do you sue a grammar style checker, such as the one on MS word? " The snarky comments doubled the size of my work.
The worst part? Some of what he said was true, and I knew it. Never mind that the majority of what he said made no sense and that he obviously didn't read my preface where I said this was the third chapter in a book and that Travis, named briefly here, was her husband because he kept telling me he had no idea who Travis was and what the heck was happening? The point was, some of what he said did make sense.
And the delightful, empowering conversation with my husband went out the window, and the headaches, dizziness, sickening feeling, and irrational crabbiness ensued. And I remembered how much this feeling sucks.
And then, as I was fighting to claw my way out of this hole, another email arrived. A private one from someone in the group, who told me to ignore everything this guy said, that she thought my writing was really good and he didn't know what he was talking about.
And, like that, the scales balanced out.
This, I suppose, is how we manage in this business. With friends. I thought today about much things have changed for me in the last year. A year ago I was writing on my own. I knew no one else who wrote. I had no one else unbiased that could read my work. It felt like me against the writing world. And then I met you all. I met the members of my Fab 4 Four Corners group. I met a few stellar individuals in my FLI group. And suddenly I am not alone.
So thank you for being part of my life. Thank you for hoping with me, and seeing a great future when I can't. Thank you for saying something positive even if you have to dig deep to find it. Thank you for sharing your work, your hopes, your fears, your rejections. Y'all rock!