Fun with Rejection

Is there really anything fun about rejection? ummm, nope. But if you’re a writer pursuing publication, rejection is going to get as familiar as a dog is with its own butt.

However, here are a few fun things that can help take the sting out of your rejection letters… maybe, REJECTION BINGO?rejection bingo - revOr maybe you’re more active, and YOGA FOR WRITERS is more your style? I’m well acquainted with many of these poses… or mentally because let’s be real. Carpal Tunnel and Yoga do not mix.

 

CPEwjNaW8AAUylT.png-largeEither way, learn your coping mechanisms because rejection doesn’t stop after you get out of the query trenches. It’s a way of life for us writers because subjectivity is a bitch.

Dear #Pitchwars 2015 Mentees

Hey you… yup, I’m talking to you.

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I know, weird that  you’re now a mentee (which btw is a weird word and always autocorrects to menthe when you’re typing. So annoying). If you were anything like me last year, I was specifically choosing NOT to look on Brenda’s blog because I didn’t want yet another disappointment.

Then my Twitter feed started blowing up and just like that, I found out I was chosen by the amazing Trisha Leigh!

My writing life has never been the same.

In an effort to pay it forward, here are three things I would like to pass on to you as an alumni (that sounds WAY fancier than it really is).

I ended up signing with an agent who requested from #PitchWars, but SO many of my amazing fellow PitchWarriors signed with agents who didn’t request from #PitchWars. So I guess that’s the first thing you need to know. Don’t let yourself be consumed with getting requests. The amazing thing about this contest is that it focuses on craft rather than reward… The entire point of #PitchWars is actually not to get you an agent. The entire point of #PitchWars is to give your manuscript the best shot it has in order to eventually get an agent. If you have a kick butt manuscript, then by default, you have a WAY better chance of finding an agent with it! FOCUS ON THE CRAFT, NOT THE REWARD.

Second thing… LEAN IN.

This process can be tough. If this is the first time you’ve ever revised with an edit letter, it can be REALLY overwhelming (I wrote about how I tackled it here). But the revising process doesn’t stop with your mentor. You may be asked to revise and resubmit by an agent or you may choose to revise based on similar reasons for rejections… then once you get an agent, you may go through several rounds of revision (*raises hand in solidarity*), and then when your book sells you’re going to have to revise some more! Lean in to all of it. Throw yourself into it (I always think of this scene from Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken when I say that).

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Fear of failure is going to try to weave it’s shriveled, gnarled fingers into your confidence. Drop kick that fear in the face and — Like my grandma always says — fake it till you make it. Because here’s a secret, NONE of us ever feel like we know what we’re doing. Every book scares us just as much as the last one.

Lastly… say no to competitiveness.

When a big chunk of the 2014 PitchWarriors got a private FB group, something magical happened. We all left our egos at the door and purposefully chose not to be competitive with each other. This meant that we shared stats, we shared when we got rejected and by who (so that others with materials out with that agent could know where they were on the reading list). We shared the dates of requests so we could let others know where the agents were at in the query inbox. None of us played things close to the chest because we were ALL getting rejections and victories and we ALL needed to celebrate or cry with THE ONLY OTHER PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND! We shared it all. We asked for query critiques, first pages critiques, even full manuscript reads when we made changes. We helped eachother with email wording, we bounced twitter pitches off each other, we talked each other off the ledge when we felt like we were NEVER going to get an agent or no one would EVER fall in love with our manuscripts. Then we would scream and squeal when we started getting agents and book deals. oh and laughed. We laugh a lot. It’s been almost a year, and none of us have any intention of ever leaving 🙂

None of that could have happened if we went into it thinking that the other mentees were competition. They aren’t. Even if they write in the same genre, they aren’t competition. Quite the opposite actually, they’ll be your lifeline to the reason you started writing in the first place if you’ll let them.

So welcome to the #PitchWars club! You’re going to have a blast!

Oh and one last thing, remember that finding an agent is just like making base camp on your climb up Everest. You need to make it to base camp, but you can’t stay at base camp. Celebrate when you get there, but keep your eye on the prize (aka total world domination… er I mean a lifetime of published books!)

Bonne Chance et Bisous!

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(Oh and on the day of the agent round, just take the day off work if you can because let’s be real… you’ll be checking your entry ALL DAY! #refresh #refresh #refresh)

For the other AMAZING PW2014 thoughts for the PW2015’ers, visit: 

Amanda Rawson Hill: On Doubt and Hope

Tracie L. Martin: What no one tells the PitchWarriors

Jennifer Hawkins: Last year at this time, I was you…

K. Kazul Wolf: Congrats on getting further into the insanity…

A.B. Sevan: Swimming with the Big Fishies

Tracie Martin: What No One Tells the PitchWarrior

RuthAnne Snow: 2014 Pitch Wars Mentee here, looking to offer…

Rosalyn Collings Eves: Most of you are probably sick with dread…

Peggy J. Sheridan: Welcome to the club…

Janet Walden-West: The Long Game

Destiny Cole: Yup, I’m talking to you…

Kelly DeVos: Confessions of a PitchWars Alternate

Mary Ann Marlowe: First things first…

Mara Rae: I’m going to keep it short and sweet…

Jen Vincent: Last year, on a complete whim…

Kip Wilson: Congratulations, lucky mentees…

A. Alys Vera: PitchWars is great, don’t get me wrong…

Nikki Roberti: 3 Things You Need to Know

Erin Foster Hartley: I’ve been putting this off…

How to revise with an Edit Letter: Part 3

Are you still with me? Because Part 2 can be pretty brutal if you have an extensive edit on your hands and you may think you’re never going to survive to see the light of Part 3. But you will.

For me, I cut about 10k words and then added back about 5k. I combined chapters, adjusted character motivations and added a few new chapters.

All in all, once I started revising (after all the planning stages), it took me about 8 weeks to finish (I have a full time job and 3 kids though, so that definitely contributed to the time).

So how do you know that you’re finished revising?

Well if you followed the previous steps, you’re going to have all these:

IMG_4233that should now look like this:

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I then printed out a fresh copy of my edit letter and went through with a highlighter. Everything that I did already I highlighted in green and everything I still needed to do, I highlighted in yellow. If you your pages are almost entirely filled with green, you’re almost done. If they have a lot of yellow, you still got some work to do!

IMG_5549I had some yellow, so I went back through and fixed it note by note until all my yellow was then scribbled in green. It was quite the colorful few pages!

So you’re done with all your notes!

The first thing you need to do is celebrate because THAT my friend was not easy. It was time consuming and mind bending and there were more times that you thought about setting your manuscript on fire than you would care to admit. I bet the LAST THING you want to do right now is ever look at it again… but guess what? We have a part 4.

Technically part 4 would be to do a read-through from beginning to end, but that doesn’t warrant it’s own post so Part 3 (b) is READ THROUGH YOUR ENTIRE MANUSCRIPT. If you can, print it out again. If you can’t, send it to your e-reader. The whole point is that you’re not allowed to fiddle with it when you read. Just make notes.

Part 3 (c) would be to then implement those notes.

You know what you have now? A pretty solid revised draft. At this point you can either

  1. Send it straight to your agent/editor
  2. Send it out to your CPs

If you did some major revisions that affects the majority of your book, I advise if at all possible to send a first revision to your CPs so they can give you some perspective. Your draft you send to your agent/editor will be much stronger because of it. If it’s just a few chapters, just send those few chapters to a CP. The point is that you might think you nailed it, but another perspective might show you have a few more tweaks to go.

Well I hope this helped! Let me know if you have any questions I can answer in more detail.

 

Life Changes Whether You’re Ready For it or Not

The last few months have gone by in a blur. The same week I became agented, I also accepted a new job position that had me working in an office for the first time in six years (I’ve been working remotely). I’ve really been loving my new job, but the adjustment period has been brutal for my writing life.

I got my edit letter. Mapped out my revision. Then just stopped. 

I was working a lot of hours trying to adjust to the new job learning curve and when I got home I would just collapse. I’ll tell you how bad it’s been. In the last few months, I’ve only read two books… guys? Did you catch that? psst. this should be your immediate reaction: rs_500x224-141015103249-tumblr_inline_ncoft3nTqP1rw9igh

In summary: I had to put my entire writing life on hold the moment I got an agent. WORST TIMING EVER! But it’s real life and sometimes real life timing is complicated.

I tried to rush through a revision after a few months of not being able to work and it was horrible. I was not feeling the creative juices and just thought I could power through it. I didn’t follow my own plan very well and when I did a read through, it was just total crap. I completely lost the voice and pacing of the entire first half of the book. I broke down in tears and emailed my agent.

My supportive agent basically told me to relax and stop forcing myself. So I did. For the first time, I just stopped being stressed about the fact that I wasn’t revising or revising quickly and lo and behold, within a few weeks, my job evened out and I started having the time and the mental capacity to be creative.

I’m making a lot of progress and although my six week revision is now at 12 weeks, I’ve accepted the fact that life changes whether you’re ready for it or not. You can either embrace that change and figure out your new normal, or you can fight that change and beat yourself up about it. The end result is still the same. Change is inevitable.

Here’s to being happy I’ve gotten my groove back!

Now time to conquer the rest of this revision!

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