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REJECTION AND SELF ESTEEM July 20, 2012

Posted by lycan librarian in Books and reading.
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Rejection is hard. It erodes our self-esteem and changes our attitudes for the worse. Enough of it can make us into different people, whittling away at us until we’re merely shadows of who we used to be. I have been job hunting for 18 months now. In between, I am on an agent hunt to find representation for my novels. That means I get a rejection of one sort or the other nearly every day. The other day I got a big rejection by a friend. I hadn’t heard from him for some time, so I dropped him an Email and  told him I had three agents looking at one of my books and was obsessed with working on a new one that I am 65,000 words into. Sound like he should have written back to say that was great news, right? Well, he wrote back with a lecture. He had seen parts of one of the drafts of  the book agents are reviewing and went on and on about how it wasn’t ready to send out and writers have to rewrite. Duh! I guess he thought I sent the manuscript out as he had seen it. (And I hadn’t. It was rewritten more than once since he saw it.) But something about his words made me doubt the novel, even though I had been very secure about it before I heard from him. Then he trashed the idea for my new book, which is literary fiction, my favorite genre. From there, he went on to talk about the plot of some stupid action adventure movie that I have no interest in. He is very commercial minded when it comes to books and movie scripts, so I understood where he was coming from to some degree. But it still stung, and it planted so much doubt inside me that I was literally sick to my stomach the rest of the day, even though I knew I shouldn’t let myself be brought down by what were probably casual comments. After all, this was only one opinion and I am very secure that I could send him a list of successful literary fiction titles and he would not have even heard of most of them because they’re simply not his thing. I have read so many great books that I stumbled upon by accident that I know the most highly advertised works are not necessarily the best. My common sense tells me there is room for many, many books in this world, including mine, but my wounded ego laps up the negative criticism. And sadly, that criticism sticks with me more than five other people telling me I’m a creative, imaginative, and skilled writer. Back to common sense; we all have different tastes, and plenty of times, I read or try to read a best seller and wonder how it even got published. The answer to that is that someone believed in that author and that manuscript, so they worked with them to make the book the best it could be, and they fought for them until the work sold. So now my task is simple. To find that one person who believes in me, and will give me the confidence and guidance to help me achieve my goal. What is my goal? Well, I’m not so sure of that anymore. Depressed as I am, I would just like to sleep through a whole night, or maybe feel good about myself for an entire day.

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Comments»

1. Steve Buchheit - July 20, 2012

I’ve read your work, even your work in progress. You’re an excellent writer with good ideas and your execution is wonderful. There’s an audience out there for your work. I know it. I see it displayed on the bookshelves in libraries and bookstores every time I go in them.

And you know what, you have a book published, which is a damn site better than most writers.

I believe in you.

lycan librarian - July 22, 2012

Thank you, Steve. Coming from you, that is a very lofty compliment. I wasn’t going to publish this because I didn’t want it to look as if I were fishing for praise, but I know there are a lot of other writers in similar situations, so maybe reading this can help them keep the faith in themselves and their work.


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