Mandy Hubbard spoke a couple of times to our SCBWI chapter today, her evening keynote being playfully titled “Rejection Sucks.” She makes me glad to be part of a community of writers. She was candid and shared the dirty details of what it takes to make it in this industry, even sharing actual text from rejection letters and revision requests she’s received.
What does it take to make it? It takes persistence. Insane, unswerving, willing-to-beat-your-head-against-a-brick-wall-and-beg-for-more persistence.
Sometimes that’s hard to muster. I do not like having a hobby/career that involves pouring my heart out on paper and then sending it around for people to reject or ignore. Suckage? Indeed.
But tonight I was reminded that I’m part of a collective, a sisterhood/brotherhood, a familyhood of people who are passionate about words and ideas and stories and who all experience rejection and who all hate it almost as passionately as they love writing, but they carry on anyway.
And she says it’s worth it. And I choose to believe her.
So far I’ve entered one contest, where I didn’t get past round one. I’ve sent out queries to 15 agents, been flat-out rejected or ignored 10 times, received 5 requests for full or partial manuscripts and had 4 of those rejected so far. Today I participated in a Twitter pitch frenzy and got one and a half requests from that. (One of the requests turned out to be someone who was looking for adult fiction.)
This process all makes me think of Magoo, who yesterday decided that he wanted to ride his bike with no training wheels. So after years of preparation, successes and failures, today he decided to ride and he just rode and now he’s a rider.
Wednesday he was not a rider. Today – rider.
Today I am not a published author. Tomorrow – who knows? I’ll dust off my helmet and get ready for success.