My writing is a piece of me. It's a part of my heart. It's an extension of myself that comes from a place deep inside me... a place that defines so much of who I am. In no way am I unique in this aspect. I'd be willing to bet that all writers feel this way about their writing. When I look at my work, whether it's a printed version or just the document on my computer, I don't just see words. I don't just see chapters. I don't just see characters and a story. I see my dreams. I see the love and dedication and hard work that was poured into every sentence, every letter, and every comma. I see something that is in existence only because I imagined it... because I loved it enough to give it life, without any promise of receiving anything in return, other than the satisfaction of completing it. I see my heart.
I've never been shy. I've never been afraid of public speaking. I've never been afraid of competition. So, when I began the querying/submission process, I wasn't afraid. I knew I'd get rejections. I knew it would be an emotional roller coaster. I knew there would be highs and lows.
What I've discovered along the way is that just because you know the roller coaster is coming, doesn't make it any easier. Just because you're mentally prepared for the "lows", doesn't make them any less low.
My philosophy when I began was just to send out a query/submission, then not worry about it... just put it out of my mind and not think about it. I believed in my book. It meant something to me. I believed (and still believe) it is in the best shape it could be in (prior to getting into the hands of an industry professional). I'd crafted (and re-crafted... and re-re-crafted) a query letter. So, I told myself to be very "clinical" in my approach to querying. Just send them out and don't fret.
Instead, what's happened over the past several months is that each time I get ready to send out a query letter or sample manuscript pages, I look at them, and see my heart. Each time I hit "send" it's a part of me that races out into cyber-space on its way to the inbox of a literary agent. Each time, it's a piece of my heart that faces rejection.
And each time rejection comes, it hurts.
I'm not complaining. Really, I'm not. Like I said earlier, I knew this would happen. It happens to everyone. It just seems we (and by we, I mean my writer-friends and I) never really talk about how the rejections hurt. In our attempt to be not only professional, but also strong and determined, we forget to actually share the lows. And I think maybe that's a mistake. We all need to vent... to let off steam. If we don't, the bottled emotions can become unhealthy and completely block our creativity. Not to mention just making us downright unpleasant.
Please understand, I'm not mad at anyone who's rejected my work. And I don't even begrudge them the form rejections that begin "Dear Author". I can't imagine the volume of query letters they get. I have trouble managing and keeping up with the email I receive from my list-serves!
It's all a part of the process... the writing journey. I'm glad to be a part of it. And despite the rejections, I'm not deterred. I'll "keep on keeping on". Because the writing is important to me.
But I just wanted to say, publicly, that for all of us writer-folk, our writing is a part of us. It's our heart on paper. And rejections hurt. Brushing that hurt under the rug won't help. Better to just acknowledge it and move on.
So that's what I'm doing.
Rejections hurt. And they always will.
But I write. And I always will.