Quittin’ Time

Not for me. At least I don’t think so. 🙂
But lately I’ve seen so many discouraged writers, it’s SAD!
If you think this business of being a multi-rejected unpubbed author is easy, think again! There’s nothing easy about putting your heart and soul out there and getting it back on a one page letter that thanks you, let’s you know the work’s not right for them, and then wishes you luck placing that work elsewhere. Especially when there is no elsewhere out there for said book!
I once heard there’s no big secret to getting published. All editors are looking for the same thing. A book that will make their house $$$. That makes perfectly logical sense. But it still drives me crazy.
I’ve heard several published authors say it takes, on average, five years to break in. That it takes that long to get plot and story and craft blended together to tell a great story.
UGH! I’m in the slow class for publishing genre fiction. You know what I mean? Remember grade school when the teacher separated the kids into the blue group (EVERYONE wanted that group. They won all the prizes. They were the best and they knew it!), the yellow group (Average kids. Some could be blue if they wanted, but they weren’t willing to do the work. Some worked hard to stay out of the dreaded last group), and the RED group. The losers. I was in the red group once. It wasn’t fun. We’d moved from Bald Knob, Arkansas to Minneapolis, Minnesota and I couldn’t read. I was the ONLY kid in the red group. It sucked. Fortunately I had the best first grade teacher and she got me to the blue group pretty darn fast. Since then I’ve ALWAYS been in the blue group.
I’m a gold star girl. You know what I mean? I want the prizes. I want the accolades. I love school and learning and teaching. (I’m a high school teacher. I’m going to be in school for 20 more years because I like it. It’s crazy, but true!) I have to work hard to be in the blue group, but the hard work is worth it.
BUT
In the publishing world all the rules are thrown out. Red, yellow, blue. Who knows? Who cares? It’s published or unpublished, and RWA PRO is just a nice little extra on your nametag at national conference.
But I feel like I’m in the red group again.
No matter how many books I write, I feel like that little kid sitting in first grade surrounded by all those funny sounding people who could read the words I desperately wanted to read but just couldn’t figure out no matter how hard I tried! And guess what? Being in the red group now sucks just as much as it did in first grade! No. It sucks more!
Because in first grade I could work with my teacher, learn the phonics, practice at home and discover the secret to the written word.
The RED group in publishing is different. I study the craft. I go to the conferences. I’m a member of RWA and a great local chapter. I have the BEST critique partners—including one in the blue group. I’ve written several books. And I’m still getting the same old rejections.
Well, not the same, but still rejections.
And they’re NOT getting better.
When I first started I got a request for a full, followed by a revision letter, followed by another revision letter, followed by a rejection saying I’d revised my book into a potential single title, but it was too long to work for Harlequin American or any other category line. I didn’t know anything about publishing back then, but I was confident I’d be published soon. HAHAHAHAHA!
Since then I’ve gotten several requests and several rejections. Sometimes they make me feel confident. Sometimes they make me feel like crap.
But all wrapped up in a pretty bow, they still leave me in the red group. And the red group’s no fun.

So that’s what I was thinking and feeling when I went to church tonight. No I don’t go around feeling like a red group loser on a regular basis, but today was my Red River Romance Writers meeting (www.rrrw.org) and our speaker was the wonderful Desire author Juliet Burns who sold her first book ever (Making her a card carrying member of the super-duper blue group of publishing), so it was one of those UGH, I hate the red group days!
Anyway, I went to church all UGH and the service was the second in a series about trusting God.
Last week our preacher talked about how God’s dreams for us are bigger than anything we can even begin to imagine. This week it was about how sometimes we have to wait for those dreams and how God’s using the waiting time to help us grow, or to help us examine exactly what we want from the dream, or to prepare us for even bigger things. I really needed that message!
I truly believe God has a hand in the stories I write. I don’t know how else the ideas would just pop up if God weren’t involved. I’m not saying they’re sacred. Heck, if they were sacred, I’m sure I’d be in the blue group. 🙂
I don’t know what God’s dreams are for me, but if I weren’t supposed to write, I’m pretty sure I’d know it by now.
So for now I’m just going to accept my seat in the red group and see if I can’t figure out what God’s teaching me. But I’m not going to quit writing. And that means I’m still going to be putting my heart and soul out there for an editor to reject with a one page letter. I’d like to say it gets easier with time, but it doesn’t. I’d like to say good rejection letters are better than form rejections, but they’re not. I’d like to say there’s a guarantee that eventually I’m going to get the CALL and the gold star and the chance to move into the blue group I love so much, but there are no guarantees in publishing.
So I guess I just need to make sure I write stories I love. Because if I write for any other reason, it’s kind of pointless.
Here’s to the red group. Maybe it is making me stronger! 🙂

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