Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rejection vs. Refusal

Sticking to a dream even when it's hard is what proves your commitment to making the dream a reality. Being an author is my dream come true and no refusal is going to stop me.

I recently submitted my fantasy novel DESTINY'S JEWEL to Ellora's Cave for their birthstone series and on Monday I received a "no, thank you" from my editor, my first from EC. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Worse... in the heart.

I shared my disappointment with my writers group and received great support and understanding. I also received two definitions that have changed the way I look at this part of writing.

According to the dictionary:
REJECTION: 1) the act or process of discarding as useless or
unsatisfactory. 2) to refuse to grant

Now, I know that my manuscript isnt useless. Nor do many of the other descriptions of the word "reject" fit my work. However.. the word refuse is used in the definition.

Look at that definition:
REFUSE: 1) to decline to accept (something offered): to refuse an award.
2) to decline to give; deny (a request, demand, etc.).

That fits what happened much better. My editor declined to accept the manuscript, denied it publication in it's current form with EC. The story was refused. By one editor. Of one story. That is much easier on my heart and muse.

Most writers have heard the story of how many times DUNE was refused (13, I believe), DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL, by Anne Frank (15 times), JONATHON LIVINGSTON SEAGULL (140!!). Knowing those numbers help a little, but for me, reframing the process in my mind was an instant balm.

I offered my editor a manuscript. She refused. That was her choice. How I feel and go forward from here - that's my choice.

And I feel just fine, thank you.

May your choices support your dreams,

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Starting over - Changing course

A writer friend of mine said something to me yesterday that was very helpful - until you submit your work, everything is a draft and therefore changeable.

I am working on a new story while waiting to hear back on another that I submitted a few weeks ago to my edotir. . Two scary places for a writer, and I am doing them simultaneously. I am not good at waiting. And being at the beginning of a project can be a challenge.

I didnt have the right opening line, wasnt sure where I was going. Each day I stared at the screen making changes that weren't helping. As of last night I was ready to junk the whole think. Bye-bye retelling of the Cinderella story. It was getting too hard.

And then my friend made that comment and reminded me that I could, if I still liked my idea, just start over. It was a daunting thought, but I was going to get rid of what I had anyway, so truly, I had nothing to loose. I made a commitment that I would be online at the same time he was (6:30 am this morning! goodness!) and I would start from the top with a goal of writing 2,000 words.

So I was.

And I did.

And now, instead of having over 3,500 words I hated... I have about 2,000 that I like and a place to go next with my hero and heroine.

I realized, the truth is, with a lot of what we do, we can change course and correct if we have the courage to do it. I read once that an airplane is off course more than 50% of the time it is flying, but as long as it lands where it is supposed to, who cares. As long as the story is good when it's finally submitted, it doesnt matter how many times I've had to write and/or change it. I just need to courage to keep going forward and trust my idea, my goal.

I hope that this week you will trust in your goals and find the people you need to support you if you need to make a course correction. It's worth it.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Do calendars lie?

Because according to mine, my children will be out of school in just under 5 weeks. How is it possible that an entire school year is nearly over?

There's not enough hours in my day to do all I want (including procrastinate, I admit) already and now the kids will be around more as well. I cannot even begin to imagine what I am going to do to keep us all from going insane before the end of August.

Sure, there will be a few weeks of day camp, and some trips to the beach, play grounds, and libraries. But I have to be honest and say that I have a small feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach about the loss of what little independent time I have. I love my time in my writing salon, with the door closed, my coffee hot and no voices other than the ones in my head. I suppose it will seem all the more precious to me come this summer when I will have to take what I can when I can.

What do you do when the children are around more? How do you find the balance you need to keep you sanity (assuming any of us have that to start)?

As I write this a fight over a water gun has broken out. Time to get the referee whistle.