That Stinging Sensation

Well, last night was rough, I won’t lie. Today, a bit better. I think I’m still picking up the pieces, to be honest. I forgot what it felt like, I guess. Makes sense, given its been several years since I went through this.
I guess I’m not making a lot sense though, am I? Trust me, that’s about my headspace this morning. Let me explain. I heard back from that contest about Cost of Duty yesterday afternoon. I’m sure after the above, you don’t need me to tell you what happened, but I think I need to say it, to get it out of my system. Maybe it’ll hurt less then. Yeah, didn’t win, didn’t anything. The big fat R. Rejected. I really did forget the sting of a form rejection. Ouch.
I think my main problem with it is that it’s hard to philosophically state that you’ll learn and grow from the experience when you don’t get any feedback. Okay, I will learn (probably) not to build my hopes up at all. I will develop a thicker skin (although I thought I already had my rhino hide installed). But as a writer, it’s nearly impossible to grow from an experience where you get no comments and have no idea what didn’t work for them.
Okay, yes, that’s just one judge’s taste maybe. Yes, you read that right. One. After all my angst back in April over the list of judges if you make past the initial reader, I didn’t even make it that far. Irony anyone? I have an oversupply at the moment. I’m sitting here this morning, still licking my wounds and trying to decide what to do now. I have a few options, but I don’t think this is the time to make decisions. I’m just going to let this one stay in the drawer for a bit, concentrate on the task at hand and definitely not try to think about the story I just sent in to this same contest. As it is, I didn’t get that much editing done last night, though part of that was the highly amusing and distracting #writerhell trend that was running rampant on Twitter. I had some fun with it and forgot for a few minutes. Of course, it was waiting for me when I finished with that, but it was a few moments of solace.
I’m sure I’ll feel more myself soon, but I didn’t sleep a lot last night and now I have a training class this morning. Wonderful, just the state I need to be in to teach. This is going to be a long, long day.

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About Julie

I'm a writer and photographer. I always have something with me to take notes for ideas or writing projects I'm thinking about or have on the go. I also like to go around with my camera and take pictures of anything that strikes me as beautiful or evocative. I'm perpetually working on one story or another, while waiting for enough distance to judge the last one (or more). I'm always working on several projects at once, developing the next book, even as I'm editing the last. Beyond that, there's always plenty of scraps and twists of ideas rolling around in my head, eventually turning themselves into full blown stories.
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25 Responses to That Stinging Sensation

  1. Peggy Isaacs says:

    Chin up and don’t despair. You are a gifted writer with more passion and determination than anyone I know. I have complete faith that you will overcome this minor setback.

    • Julie says:

      *Deeply blushes* Thanks. The good news is that I already feel a lot better. I think I just needed that sting to ease, and a long day at work keeping busy helped. Also, I had a training class today and my students said wonderful things about me. Ego mended. 🙂

  2. 4amWriter says:

    Ugh. I feel your pain. As you well know, I have been down this same rejection road and no matter how many times you endure the bloody journey, it doesn’t hurt any less. Rhino hide or not. We all have feelings.

    I felt the way you do about a comment-less rejection. I fully believe that the reason so many writers ditch the traditional path to publishing and go self is because we don’t get enough feedback as to why our stories didn’t get the nod. I know, I know, I know that there are too many submissions for agents to comment on each one, but I still think the process could be handled differently so that the writers who are serious about it could get the feedback they deserve.

    You’re smart not to act on any decisions now. Give yourself a few days’ break from that particular story, take a walk, make yourself your fave comfort food and pop in a good ol’ movie where you don’t have to think. And trust that tomorrow will be better. 🙂

    • Julie says:

      The one problem with saying that they should comment on the rejections for serious is how do you tell who those are with any reliability? I will say, in this contest, I believe they get something like 1500 entries per quarter, so I understand why the flat rejections don’t get comments. It just leaves me wondering a bit if I was fooling myself about the story. I don’t think I was, but that little voice still lurks in the back of my mind.

      I think how subjective the selection process is might be the other reason a lot of writers are going self-pub. I mean, your book might be fantastic, nigh on perfect, but if it doesn’t resonate with that particular editor/agent, you’re just as out of luck as if it sucked, really. In fact, then it’s worse, because you know it should have been picked up and there’s nothing you can do about it.

      All this said, I feel a lot better about it, and the support from you and everyone else has been a big part of it. I was at work getting the emails on my blackberry with the comments and it made my day feel better and better. 🙂

  3. quix689 says:

    I’m sorry to hear that. 😦 But just because that one reader didn’t like it didn’t mean that it wasn’t good. No story/novel in the world is liked by everyone. And at least you’re putting yourself out there and trying. That’s more than most people do, and it’s a step in the right direction.

    And I’ll stop with the cliches now, even if I believe them. 🙂

    It does suck that you don’t get any feedback. That’s got to be the most frustrating part. I know that would irritate me. Just try to focus on something else for a while and remember that all authors have a list of rejections and obstacles that they had to overcome. If you wrote a story, sent it out, and it won automatically, that wouldn’t make a very good story. You’re a writer – you know this. The main character needs to mope around for a bit and feel bad about herself before she can pick herself back up and tackle the bad guy. It sucks for the character, but it makes for a way more interesting story over all. And you want your story of How I Became a Published Author to be interesting, right? 😀

    • Julie says:

      You know, cliches become popular because there’s some truth to all of them. They just get a bad rap from being overused.

      And my characters don’t get to mope around. They tend to get attacked. Or read things they regret. Or otherwise get tortured by their maniacal writer. 😀

      Trust me, though, no one would want to read the story of how I became a writer. Unless of course they wanted a non-chemical way of inducing a coma. It might work for that. 🙂

  4. They should’ve explained why your writing didn’t exactly cut it with them. But that’s okay, shit happens, you know? 🙂
    Breathe, hon 🙂

  5. jmmcdowell says:

    Rejection hurts, no matter how tough a skin we grow. It will still affect us. But definitely, it was one person’s opinion (whatever the reason was). And there will always be more than one person who won’t enjoy our work, even if it’s the best written novel of all time. You have to keep moving forward. As Kate said, console yourself with some comfort food and doing something you enjoy.

    The sting fades, and you’ll be ready to make the next submission when it’s time.

    • Julie says:

      Yeah, it never stops stinging a little when you read the rejection, like a slap to our ego/pride/whatever. And I agree, it was just one editor’s opinion. I’ll almost certainly end up sending it out elsewhere after a few days pass and I reread it. I had a few markets in mind if it didn’t go anywhere with the contest.

      I’m doing better this afternoon, and the sun’s shining, so all’s coming out all right in my world. Thanks 🙂

  6. Ottabelle says:

    You’ll bounce back, if I have any idea how you are at all. It hurts now, but it won’t forever. Just keep going forward.

    • Julie says:

      Thanks, Amber. I sometimes think I must have something like emotional ADD, because I really am more or less fine now. Which is good, since I still have a novel to edit by the end of the month. 🙂

      • Ottabelle says:

        Well, at least you can get to “fine” easily. I have trouble doing that.

        Get that novel done!!

        • Julie says:

          That’s a recent thing. I’ve been through that darkness, believe me, the one that seems endless, where there’s no perspective, no up or down. I know you’ll come out the other side. I’m just a lot further along that life curve. Being older, I’d kind of expect that. You’ll get there though.

          And I’m working on the novel, I swear, I’m still working on it. Wait, which one of the horde of them are we talking about? 😉

          • Ottabelle says:

            Thanks for your faith, it gives me a little extra hope. I better get through. Who else will do all the things I have to do?

            And good girl 😛 And I meant ALL the novels. 😛

          • Julie says:

            That’s a good attitude, that you have to make it through because you have to do your things in life. I’m sure you will though.

  7. Em says:

    As I said before, I’m so glad that you are already getting over it and were able to take a mature step-back approach to this. I’d probably still be hiding under the bed and I’m pretty proud of my thick skin.

    • Julie says:

      I’m not sure if it’s that somewhere deep inside I expected this or I just figured that stressing over it wouldn’t change anything, but I’m amazed that, less than 24 hours after getting the email, I was mostly fine and on to other challenges. 🙂

  8. Subtlekate says:

    I am sorry Julie and I’m sorry you didn’t get any sleep because of it. They say rejection teaches us something, but I’m damned if I can find the lesson but you are putting yourself out there and trying and that says so much.

    • Julie says:

      Well, I’d learn more from rejection with comments, but I’ve still learned something. A few things, actually. My writing isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste and I’ve learned that I’m okay with that. I’ve also learned I’m strong enough to withstand rejection, as I’m doing much better now. Thanks 🙂

  9. Having a submitted work rejected is indeed a tough and miserable experience. But, trust me, it hurts even more seeing your work crash and burn after publication. I went through that several years ago, and it just about did me in!

    Hang in there!

    • Julie says:

      As I’m sure every author goes the that situation at least once, I shall resign myself to experiencing it. I’m sorry to hear that you did though. 😦 *hugs*

  10. Pete Denton says:

    Stinging sensation indeed. Sorry to read about your rejection and I agree about the lack of knowing why. All writers experience the rejections and you want to grow and understand why. It’s a shame you can’t get the feedback every time, but like you say time pressures and volume often makes that impossible. Sounds like you’ve got your chin back up. Keep the faith. (Not just a Bon Jovi song) 🙂

    • Julie says:

      Yeah, I’m back to myself. The thing is, I accepted a long time ago that rejections, even ones that say nothing other than “No Thanks”, are just part of being a writer. To me, if you can’t take that, you need to find another thing to be doing with your life. It’s like criticism and bad reviews. If you can’t deal with it, don’t be a writer. I think I can, though the bad review point hasn’t been tested yet. We’ll get there. 🙂

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