Category Archive: fear

Mar 20 2012

Inside the Mind of a Self-Doubting Writer

  1. Wow. What a great idea! I can’t wait to start on this story. But, wait. How can I make it original without making it suck?

  2. I know! I’ll write a cast of diverse characters, no cookie cutter stereotypes. Plus, my voice and style of writing would lend to the story’s uniqueness.

  3. Wow, I impressed myself. Gotta tell my honey how many words I wrote today and update my Twitter and Facebook pages with the news.

  4. Gosh, I’m tearing through this story. I’ve written so many chapters and even added a few good twists. This is gonna be brilliant! Progress is going great! I can’t wait to share this story with the world. People are gonna love this.

  5. But what if they don’t? What if they don’t like the direction I took the main character? Gosh, maybe I should go back and further clarify why the character made that decision.

  6. While I’m rewriting the scene where the main character makes an important decision, I might as well reread the entire thing to make sure the story’s unfolding the way I envisioned.

  7. Okay, now I’ll continue writing where I left off … but later this evening, after I make dinner and put the kids to sleep.

  8. The kids are fed, full and asleep but I woke up pretty early today. I’ll go to sleep now so I can get up early and write more of the story tomorrow before work.

  9. I got about an hour before I get the kids off to school this morning. Might as well check my emails and see what I missed on Facebook and Twitter before I start on the story.

  10. Darn! Where did the time go? I’ll finish writing the chapter of my story by tonight, no excuses.

  11. Well, now it’s a little late but I have the time to look over the last few chapters I wrote to remember where I left off.

  12. Ugh! I wrote that?! I must’ve been tired or something. This is not going the way I thought it would. It’s nothing but chapters and chapters of crap. No one’s gonna want to read this mess! Why am I wasting my time? The characters are obviously stereotypes and my voice and style seem too sophomoric.

  13. Ooh. I got another cool idea. But this idea will be great as a different book with different characters.

  14. Now how can I put my twist on it and make it truly my own? Well, before I get into this new story maybe I should finish writing the other story first.

  15. *opens story and stare blankly at the screen*

  16. I’ll start the new story now and work on the other story tomorrow. *closes story and opens blank document*

  17. But what if no one likes the premise of the new story? The characters seem kind of blah, the setting is overused … this will never work.

  18. Oh, wait! Honey read over the few chapters of my other story and liked it. Maybe I should put all my attention into that story again. But Honey isn’t familiar with book publishing or the market. What if Honey was just being nice and the story really sucks?

  19. I’ll have one of my author friends look over it and give me their feedback. They understand the book world and will be honest with me.

  20. They liked it and even gave me some useful feedback on how to make it even better. I can’t wait to start working on this story again. This is brilliant! People are gonna love it!

Feb 24 2012

Embracing Rejection Instead of Fearing It

All writers experience publisher/editor/agent rejection at one point in their writing careers, but serious writers learn to embrace that rejection and use it to improve their writing.

 

Here’s how:

 

Don’t let it hinder you

 

Just like that cutie in high school who never knew you existed. If only you could’ve built the courage to plop your food tray down at his table, slide in beside him and say, “Hi,” things might’ve been different. Instead, fear held you down at the table in the corner with the rest of the unpopulars as you watched big-busted Kyla sit down beside him and start a giggle-laden conversation. What, just me?

 

Fear keeps you from trying because you’re uncertain of the results. And the ultimate fear for writers is … what if they don’t like my writing. And instead of finishing the novel, you put it on the back burner because if you finish it then you’ll want to share it. And what if they think it sucks?

 

You want to get it published, but you’re afraid of submitting it because you’re writing sucks compared to other writers. What if publishers think you have no business writing even grocery lists?

 

They accepted and published your novel, but you’re afraid to market it because reviewers and readers could be harsher than any editor. What if they hate your book so bad the only sales you get are from readers who buy your book for the satisfaction of watching the book burn ritualistic style, and in your backyard, nonetheless?

 

Own up to the fact that you will be rejected one way or another, sooner or later, and make sure every time you …

 

Learn from it

 

A (sort of) nice thing to take away from being rejected by a publisher, editor or agent is that sometimes you get a valued piece of written inscription known as a personalized rejection letter. Sometimes the editor will explain why the manuscript was rejected and sometimes she will even give you pointers on how to improve it, leaving you with the decision to fix it and move on (or resubmit) to another publisher without making any changes at all. Whichever you choose, the point is … you’re moving on (or revising and resubmitting) and trying again.

 

You may get rejection after rejection and no explanation for it. Which isn’t unusual but if your work is continually getting rejected it’s time to change your tactics.

 

  • Rewrite the query letter. Sometimes tweaking the query letter is all it takes. Since the query is the first hint of your writing skills the editor encounters, it’s important that it’s just as polished as your manuscript.

 

  • Have someone else look over the query letter and manuscript. Sometimes it’s difficult for you to see your own mistakes and typos, or if something needs clarification.

 

  • Double check and follow the submission guidelines. Make sure the publisher publishes similar books in your genre, are open for submissions, accepts from author or agent, etc.

 

  • Be professional. No emoticons, text-like abbreviations or usage of slang in your query letter or any written correspondence between you and publisher/editor/agent.

 

  • If all else fails … focus on writing your next novel. Don’t spend too much time rewriting and submitting the same manuscript. Move on to your next novel which should be written better than your last. You should keep learning your craft and improving.

 

Know it’s not the end

 

Serious writers understand it’s not the end of your writing career or the end of rejection. There will be more rejection letters just as long as you keep writing and submitting manuscripts. Rejection is a huge part of being a serious writer.

 

Imagine plopping your food tray down next to that cutie in high school and he turns to you with a look of disgust on his face. Your worst fear, right? Hey, you knew it could happen, at least you can say you tried and that you learned to never go that route again. (Next time you’ll catch him at his locker after school.)

 

So embrace rejection instead of fearing it and use it to improve your writing.