Monday, March 10, 2014

Calling It Off: when snow and writing rejections get the best of us

by Cat Woods

Last Tuesday night dumped a few inches of light, fluffy snow on us. Right on time Wednesday morning, the snow plow cleared our cul-de-sac. It's blade, grating over the tarred road like a mechanical monster sharpening its claws, woke me before my alarm did. Interestingly, school was two hours late.

Then the wind kicked up, visibility plummeted and my neighbor's seven foot high fence disappeared behind a mountain of snow on Thursday morning. Despite the snow plow not even hitting our street until nearly 10:00am (and then getting stuck in the enormous drift), school was right on time.

Who makes these seemingly opposing calls? I wondered. What are they seeing that I'm not? Why one day and not the other? I mean, seriously!

If you've ever submitted a manuscript for publication, the same questions have likely plagued your mind. Especially after you open the covers of a newly printed magazine and find someone else's story where yours should have been. Book store shelves and cyber shops are filled with books an editor accepted despite rejecting yours.

And the question remains, "Why? Why them and not me?"

Why one late start and not the other?

Unless--and until--we are in the position to make those calls, we can only live with the consequences of those decisions. Good, bad, or indifferent, a call is a call.

However, writers do have a little more say than students when it comes to the seemingly random actions of the powers that be.
  • We can keep working on the same manuscript, polishing, revising, editing and polishing some more until we find what works for the market(ing department).
  • We can begin a new manuscript that takes into account information we've received from outside sources--such as personalized rejection letters, critique partners, member experiences at sites like AgentQuery Connect and/or writer's magazines and conferences.
  • We can self-publish.
  • We can take a break from our passion and come back to it with fresh eyes down the road.
  • We can keep learning, keep working and keep honing.
  • Or, we can trunk our writing altogether and take up snow sculpting.
Have you ever been tempted to call it off completely, or do you have too much respect for your time, effort and education to toss in the towel and bundle up? What tips and tricks do you find helpful when it's just too hard to slog through another storm? How do you stay motivated when you've been passed up yet again on the "perfect project?" Better yet, how do you use this experience to become a better writer?

Curious minds want to know.

Cat Woods has allowed herself a late start or two in her lifetime of writing. She's long learned that writing is a journey and as long as you keep your eyes (and cars) on the road goal, you'll eventually reach your destination. For more of Cat's musings, check out her blog--Words from the Woods. For her actual published words, visit your nearest and pick up the Seasons Series of anthologies from Elephant's Bookshelf Press. And if you're really patient, you'll find her children's writing in Tales from the Bully Box and Abigail Bindle and the Slam Book Scam, both slated for release in 2014.


JeffO said...

Whoa, that's a lot of questions, Cat.

Generally, what keeps me going is the idea that I have a story (well, more than one) to tell, and I want people to read it. The only way for that to happen is to keep on keepin' on, as the song says. If I don't, then no one reads my work.

Jane Jazz said...

I generally go into a spin and try to do at least four of the options at once. If I could morph into four different creatures I might be able to monitor their progress and see which path is THE ONE.
This reminds me of the Creepy Query Girl post this morning... obviously lots of us feel this way!

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