Archive for March, 2015

In the tradition of looking for the silver lining, I’ve decided to categorize the receipt of my first rejection agatha-christie-portraitfrom an agent I queried as a sign I’ve entered into the world of actual writers.F_Scott_Fitzgerald_1921 After all, apocryphal or not, tales of
F. Scott Fitzgerald papering his wall with rejection slips or Agatha Christie hanging in there for five years before selling her first mystery, indicate rejection is part and parcel of being a new writer.

I admit I’m praying I don’t receive a wall’s worth of rejections or have to wait five years (I’m way too old), but I’m proud this first negative response did not send me into a tailspin. Of course, it helped the agent in question was gentle and non-judgmental. “I couldn’t relate to your writing,” was her explanation. I took that to indicate my writing was not unacceptable. However unfortunately the one thing I can’t change is “my writing.” I can edit, restructure, or polish, but I doubt I can fundamentally alter the tone or character of how I write. It reflects who I am.

In the greater scheme of things, however, I am pleased to think my writing is individual. It means if I do find an agent, a publisher and an audience, they will have chosen my work. My ego will certainly appreciate that.

After countless revisions, edits and sleepless nights, I finally sent out queries for my maiden novel, Wild Echoes Flying. The act of submitting my creative baby to the unwavering scrutiny of industry professionals is both exhilarating and horrifying. I had successfully pitched this first round of agents, who’d all expressed some interest in the concept. I should be more hopeful, right? Instead, I realize I’ll now be judged solely on my writing, no way to soften the potential blows to my nascent creative confidence.

I’ve gone to conferences, participated in writing groups and classes, submitted pages for critiques, even hired a professional editor whose detailed, yet insightful, notes almost pushed me over the edge. I’m reviewing the business of writing, studying how to effectively promote my book if it’s published, and even explored the basics of publishing contracts.

Despite all this preparation, I find myself transported back to grade school desperately waiting for someone to pick me for a team, invite me to a party or include me in a game. The act of writing is so personal. Regardless of the topic, it is self-reflective.  All the research, editing, critiquing in the world doesn’t change my voice, my story, my idea. Even when I acquiesce to the suggestions of others, those are my decisions. It’s all on me.

But if writing is entirely subjective, so is reading. No book, novel, work of art — not even the classics — appeal to everyone. I know this. I should be mature enough to believe in my own creation. Still I crave the validation of my peers, of professionals, of others.

And, yet, despite the fear, dread and nail-biting suspense, I feel liberated, brave, powerful. After a lifetime of avoiding rejection, I’m now courting it. Good for me.

And so I wait.

Let’s Talk

I’m no technophobe or Luddite, but I admit to longing for the sound of a human voice. A real human’s voice.

I use text and e-mail, but regard them as information tools. When I converse, I want to talk. I don’t need to talk long, but I prefer to hear someone’s reaction, tune into the subtleties of tone and rhythm. I particularly resent endless backing and forthing by text to iron out details of a meeting, plan or idea, which could be settled in one minute on the phone.

Before you protest, I understand texting can be done when you’re otherwise engaged — in a meeting, on a date, during a meal or at work. But such multitasking comes with its own perils.

And has everyone missed the irony that at a time when we are talking to each other less and less, we are being bombarded by devices offering to talk to us or allow us to talk to them? Truth be told, half the time when I’m texting I use the voice feature to speed up the process.

In the grand scheme my current pet peeve may be small potatoes. Studies seem to indicate babies, animals and children do not thrive if deprived of physical, tactile and real world interactions.  I can’t help but suspect the same holds true for adults.