I spent most of yesterday feeling pretty sorry for myself. After spending a great deal of time beavering away on my novel, all I had to show from 3 submissions was 1 rejection which informed me that my submission was not suitable. Inevitably I spent the vast majority of the day desperately over analysing the curt response which I had received. The only conclusion which I could arrive at was that it was clear that my novel is rubbish.
By the time I returned home, thoroughly defeated and deflated, I was able to put my feelings to the back of my mind. From time to time cooking is massively therapeutic to me and I soon found myself suitably sedated by the waft of my Jack Daniels glaze drifting up from the pieces of deceased bovine which sat in my griddle pan. I sat myself down in front of my laptop, glass of red wine one side, my steak sandwich the other and instantly noticed that I had mail. When I opened it I was stunned to find my 2nd rejection of the day.
The reason I am rambling slightly and providing far too many details is to try to get my point across. I had managed to find an inner calm which would have made the buddha jealous. I felt nothing, I found myself grinning like an idiot, yet expecting the worse. It was one of those moments where you can only laugh at what a son of bitch life can be sometimes.
When I read the email I was stunned. Indeed it was a rejection, and it made me smile. The reason was that it was something more than a generic thanks but no thanks. It was personalised, it was encouraging and most importantly of all it felt honest. Whether it was or not I shall never know as I don’t expect that I will ever meet the person behind it.
As the owner of an exceedingly obsessive mind I cannot pretend I haven’t combed over every word trying to find meaning where there is none. What makes it ever harder is that I am a natural pessimist. Despite that, the 2nd rejection has somewhat calmed me. An experience is the sum total of what a person takes from it. I am trying to take it at face value.
I will continue with my plan and I will send it to the next agency on my list. In the meantime I shall finish my current project. When I started the submission process I promised to give it 18 months. It’s only been 3. I am sure I will be just fine. If only I could borrow the buddha’s patience for a little while.
This post was written early yesterday afternoon. I didn’t post it yesterday as when I returned home I had yet another rejection waiting for me which has since changed my thinking slightly. I shall explain everything in my next post.
It gives me great pleasure to announce that I am now officially a literary failure. This morning I received my first rejection on the grounds that my material wasn’t suitable for the agency in question.
Since I first submitted my manuscript I have been filled with apprehension regarding how exactly I would feel upon receiving my first rejection. Honestly its a peculiar mixture. On one hand I appreciate the fact that someone somewhere read my submission despite the fact they clearly didn’t like it. The other part of me is disappointed and being somewhat of a drama queen by telling me that I am wasting my time and that I should try my hand at something achievable like alcoholism.
The fact is that it is at least forcing me to contemplate my next step. Right now I don’t know whether to push on with my original plan, rewrite or burn my manuscript and resolve myself to join the faceless brigade of those who are merely waiting to die. At least in the short-term my commitment to NaNoWriMo means that my hands are tied until the end of the month.
A man’s true character can be recognised when you observe him in the face of rejection, when no hope of salvation or redemption is in plain sight. Those who flee we deem cowards, those who remain steadfast in their convictions, we brand crazy. I suspect I am a little of both.
It’s happened. I have finally submitted my novel to an agent. Now all I can do is wait with bated breath. I feel sick in my stomach and paralyzed by fear. It is a somewhat similar feeling to the first time you proposition a girl as a teenager. You do your up most to prepare yourself for the worst, therefore logically trying to minimise the likely hurt when you get the expected rejection. As someone who lived through his teenage years, years ago I remember that it doesn’t really work.
There is a distinctly Hollywood element to the act of submitting a manuscript. The feeling that ‘those things only happen to people in the movies’ means that its impossible to think any other way than pessimistically which actually suits my natural demeanor. Nevertheless such an approach creates a natural apprehension.
Another problem which emerges is the inability to be objective about your own work. I can no longer look at my manuscript. Every time I do I have a conflicting feeling. One day I feel it is great, the next I feel it is a disaster. The safest thing I can do for now, is to put it somewhere out of sight and out of mind while I try to busy myself with dull tasks to avoid thinking about the significance of my first submission.
Can I now say I have written a novel? Does that mean I am a writer? What if they reject me? Does it mean I am not good enough? Does it mean that my writing is bad or that my idea is bad or that both are bad? The only thing which is clear to be right now is that it doesn’t bear thinking about.