I’m deep in the querying trenches for my first full-length novel. It took a year to write and a year to edit. Will it take a year to be picked up by an agent? Maybe. But that’s okay. Let’s talk about why.
Writing, like any art form, is highly subjective. What one person loves, another person might hate. Same for books. For example, one of my least favorite books of all time is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. I’ve had to read it at least three times for different classes in college and high school, and not one of those read-throughs has inspired any kind of love from me. As much as I dislike that book, I’m certain that it’s someone’s favorite. They have Scarlet Letter merch, dress up as a character for Halloween, re-read the book every year, the whole shebang. It’s just not for me.
This subjectivity means finding the right agent to be excited about your project might take some time. This whole querying experience is about just that: finding the right agent. Getting accepted by an agent doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the right agent for me or my project. Getting rejected by an agent doesn’t mean your piece is bad. It’s all just part of being a writer.
Something I see a lot of is people getting discouraged after being rejected, specifically because they feel like they’re not an author if they aren’t published. Here’s the definition of an author:
So, have you written something? Congratulations, you’re an author!
My rejections remind me of a favorite Sylvia Plath quote:
I firmly believe that everything happens when it’s supposed to. I also believe the act of trying is very important. Failure is inevitable. We all fail at some things. Does that mean we should quit? Put down the pen and decide writing isn’t for us? Absolutely not. It’s hard, and it can be very discouraging to see yet another rejection email. But, to quote Walt Whitman, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”
If you’re in the same hell – I mean place – that I am: keep trying, keep looking toward the sun, and never give up.
2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Rejection”
Good post, Chelsea. I remember, back in the ancient times, when the advice was to use your rejections to paper your walls. Proof that you, as a writer, were on the right path. Great thoughts on agents as well. Let us all keep trying.
Loved this. Posted a comment on your site. Nice looking site, too. S.