Ya Gotta Have Faith...

This post is directed at writers who have faced rejection. Yes, I know that means all of you, each and every one of you. Anyone who writes - published or unpublished, agented or un-agented has to put themselves out there in the line of fire and if and when rejection knocks on the door, there’s a decision to be made. The guarantee is that it will hurt. How much is dependent on you, the writer. Is it going to be a bruising body blow? A crushing kick in the solar plexus? Or a fatal beating from which you/your writing will never recover?

I had one this week. If rejections can be good, it was a good one complementing my ‘distinctive narrative voice’ and ‘my intriguing characters’. There was, however, a ‘but’ which I could sense looming through the good stuff. My downfall was apparently my plot. Whilst it wasn't missing, it wasn't convincing either.

I immediately started my survival process. The first step was denial, where I stuck my fingers in my ears and chanted, while closing down the email and pretending that it never arrived. The second step was that I told no-one, but talked to myself in my head about it for days. I call this my ‘licking my wounds’ phase. Stage three happened in bed this morning at five a.m. (Saturday), the time that I decided was the right moment to discuss the week’s events with my long suffering hubster.

He may not be as glad as I am for the early morning chat. But I needed it. Through my inevitable tears, he told me kindly but bluntly that I had two choices. Give up or carry on. He told me that I was too good to give up and that I may still have a lot to learn but to give myself credit for what I have learned. He suggested that I invent an alter ego – my writing self, who does all the work but deals with the down side too. He suggested I call her Faith.

It’s now 7:15 on Saturday morning. The tears have stopped. I’m back at the laptop counting my blessings. Faith is administering arnica to her bruises and beginning to think about her plot problems. The hubster is deservedly asleep and no, he’s not available for hire. Those short sharp motivational interventions are just for me – and Faith.

Okay, okay... You lot can share them too.


Helen Black said...

This is without doubt one of the most brutal industries there is.

To survive it, we writers need to be as tough as old boots...whist simultaneously being sensitive souls.

It's a very tough gig to live it in the long run.
HB x

Kathleen Jones said...

Every time I send out a manuscript it's like lying down naked on a railway line waiting for the train to come along!

I've been run over a fair number of time, but I'm still doing it. Must be mad!

Good luck to both you and Faith - you've obviously got enough determination and bloody-minded obstinacy to succeed. Because that's what you need.

JO said...

What a great idea - to create a part-ego that deals with all the writing and rejection and general angst, leaving the rest of you to deal with Life. If you can find a way of stopping one leaking into another, so let us know.

I live alone, so have to give these 'chats' to myself. Sometimes I'm rubbish at it. So if my Faith can hide a cupboard every now and then, life might get easier!

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Fionnuala, for picking yourself up again. I'm sure Faith will get there in the end.

Sam x

Debs Riccio said...

I'm just starting to talk to Faith's sister, Hope. Nice girls. Tough on the outside, soft inside. Maybe she's more a Minstrel or one of Delia's homefried chips... or maybe I'm just going slightly mad. Bless you and your tears, Fi. I thought I was on my own with the sobbingness. x

Susie Nott-Bower said...

What an amazing hubby you have, Fi - between you you have given birth to Faith, the best companion any writer can have.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

What an amazing hubby you have, Fi - between you you have given birth to Faith, the best companion any writer can have.