How To Deal With Rejection… Part 1

Chocolate is the best answer to how to cope with rejection.

Chocolate is the best answer to how to cope with rejection.

The astute amongst you may have noticed my absence from the blogosphere of late. I set myself up with a regular feature which was not that challenging to do – a regular 100-word flash fiction story published every Friday – and yet still I managed to skive off my (self-imposed) blogging duties…

Tsk. I suffered from something many people may identify with. When writing is the way you are earning your crust, anything that involves writing which doesn’t mean a payment at the end of it becomes a terrible chore.

The Christmas Card Fiasco

Witness, for example, dear friends the length of time it took me to write my Christmas cards this year. Despite the fact that I repeatedly vow that this will be the year those cards are completed on 1 December – or an announcement is made via Facebook that this year I am contributing a designated amount to charity and all Christmas greetings will be of the electronic, no-cost, no send variety – it took me until the last minute (today) to write actual cards and send them. Hey ho…

Part 2 of the writing aversion explanation – I naively thought myself immune from rejection. Years of job applications and many months of applying for freelancing jobs with middling success I foolishly thought to have created a rhino-like skin for myself. Rejection, I declared loudly and proudly, bring it on and I can scrunch up that little ball of ego dent, fling it behind me and emerge unscathed. I am writer, hear me ROAR…

Rejection? It’s To Be Expected

Yes indeedy, those were my thoughts. Three agent rejections of The Book later… Now, as all writers will know rejection is to be expected; indeed one might be a tad suspicious if the first novel writing attempt was welcomed with open arms. Dear lady, we at Dodgy Agents Ltd love your book – now just sign here, here and here and please do no expect to see any royalties ever or any kind of payback whatsoever. That kind of thing.

But, but, but. It still stings… I have taken to chanting myself a mantra of “One down, 26 to go. Two down, 25 to go, three down, 24 to go”*, etc etc. And then if that doesn’t work out, well the self-publishing route has worked out well for some. But it would indeed be foolish to think of the self-publishing route as the road to riches or even fame. Two or three marvellous exceptions (oh god, I’m going to have to name drop Ms 50 Shades of Grey here aren’t I? On a more positive note, there is Hugh Howey and the entirely fabulous Wool) do not prove the success of self-publishing, but it is still an option.

Sometimes, you need to go back and look at the original goals of your ambitions. I, like many people, said I wanted to write a book. I did not necessarily specify I wanted to publish a book – and for people to then buy said book, and indeed buy it in their thousands. No, no, the original goal was merely to write a book. Mission accomplished, hmm?

But Happily Publishing Still Does Happen…

On the plus side (and it is always good to cope with rejection by looking at other areas of your life), there has been a very welcome development in another project I got involved in. I started up a discussion on LinkedIn writers and editors group, encouraging people to contribute a regular flash fiction story of 100 words every Friday – the Friday flash fiction challenge.

The good people of the LinkedIn writers and editors group responded with gusto and this discussion thread has been running now since 27 September. Every Friday, there are new contributions. With almost 300 posts though, it was getting somewhat unwieldy so one contributor, Russell Conover, suggested a WordPress site for everyone to contribute to. That site is now up and running – feel free to take a look.

Content marketing is said to make publishers of everyone. The world wide web may well have its issues (loss of privacy, social media addiction, health and well-being problems associated with sitting in front of computers for too long, the ease in which our governments and large corporates can spy on us etc) but sometimes the loveliness of the internet just gives me a glow. Here is a group that started on LinkedIn, that grew and grew and that now publishes its stories on a regular basis. We are mini novelists one and all.

 

*Based on a rejection threshold of 27.

Amazon, Erm – Not so Bad After All?!*

No relevance whatsoever, but royalty and copyright free, so y'know...

No relevance whatsoever, but royalty and copyright free, so y’know…

An ambition was realised this week in the Highheelsandpinkglitter household… It was not that I finally managed to do a handstand (since childhood, I’ve always wanted to be able to throw my legs up into the air and perhaps even ‘walk’ a few paces on my hands) as, sigh, that has yet to happen…

…no, instead this week I am a published author finally! Now, I realise this is somewhat disingenuous. Words have been written on this blog about words I have written elsewhere; namely words that have made up my first entirely amateur attempt at fiction.

So perhaps a few of you got a bit of a jolt there – “Blimey lady! You told us that book – and a first attempt at that, mind! – got finished a mere six weeks ago or so. And now you’re saying it’s been published?! Who the heck is your agent/publisher or have you hastily attempted your own edits and rushed it out as a self-published e-book in an act of sheer, hasty folly?”

Sheer, hasty folly was not committed dear reader, I promise. The book in question was not THE BOOK, it was instead a commission I got as a freelancer to write e-books on diets. I bid for the job as I do read a lot about health, dieting and fitness and I thought I might as well write about something I might not need to do much research about. [I was wrong about the latter].

So this week, the book has been published on Amazon. Setting aside any qualms about Amazon and its employment policies in the UK (oh woe, my pitiful lack of principles is exposed once more), I have looked at the particular page quite a few times. [“C’est moi!! C’est moi name! C’est moi book – oh all right, I’ll stop with the awful, pidgin French]. I sent the link to my mum in an email, subject line: You are now the mother of a published author. Cheesy hmm?

[As my husband was not around that day either, he too got an email, subject line: You are now the husband of a published author. My sisters got one – You are now the sister of a published author. My aunt will get one – You are now the… OK, I think no further explanations of this sort are necessary].

With Amazon though, one runs the gauntlet of customer reviews. At this early stage, there are none. I’m debating whether getting no reviews would be just as terrible as awful reviews… Hmm. Double hmm.

Anyway, it was a terribly thrilling and hopefully (oh please) a taste of things to come. I’m now off to look up ‘how to’ videos on YouTube. Handstands specifically.

*Sincere apologies to zero hour contracts folks, and doubly sincere apologies to independent book sellers, video sellers and any other independent sellers whatsoever…

So THE END??

I don’t imagine too many of your thoughts are taken up by little ol’ me dear readers – my own mind, for example, has room for few thoughts that do not concern a group of imaginary folks, what I should have for dinner and if I have been attentive enough to family and friends – but perhaps you wondered to yourself today:

THE END

‘Do you reckon that daft blog woman who has yet to decide on her blog niche and who consequently witters on about any old thing has actually finished the book she is supposed to be writing…?’

Readers, I wrote this blog post in advance. It was to serve as a kick up the… well, you know what I mean. I would write a version where I finished the first draft of my book on the date I said I would with a vintage bottle of Veuve Cliquot acting as a carrot stick. Writing that I had finished it before I actually finished it would spur me on, I reasoned.

I closed my eyes, in best Paul McKenna stylee, and visualised what that would feel like. I tried to imagine what I would be looking at – a text document with THE END in bold black, I suppose – how I would feel (ecstatic with a faint sense of loss) and how I would move (away from the lap top immediately).

And then I wrote the version where I didn’t finish the first draft. It was a post filled with doom and gloom, fear and loathing, self-pity and hatred. Blimey, dear reader, the negativity radiating from that short article would have been enough to chill your very bones.

So without further ado… I FINISHED IT.

A little haste has perhaps crept in to my writing over the past week and there are plenty of ill-advised words and phrases sprinkled though out – not to mention bonkers plot lines, plot holes aplenty, inconsistent characterisation, more loose ends than the final The Returned* episode and weird happenings. I think too, that Uncle Fred (you remember, he was the poor guy who met with a freak, deadly ending thanks to a fruit bowl) may have resurfaced round about page 283, but finito draft one most definitely is.

[Thanks to the insomnia, I got up this morning at 5.15am and blasted out just over 7,000 words in pig-headed determination.]

And with one ending comes another beginning. It so does. I’m guessing all of the hard work now begins. I’ve got to take this monster of spelling mistakes, grammatical ghastliness and bonkers storyline and try to make it (oh please) publishable.

Hmm. Anyway, egotistical as I am, I wanted to end this post by inviting you dear, lovely and esteemed audience to share your achievements with me. In the words of the lovely Heather Small: “What have you done today [week] to make you feel proud?”

 

*Huh. I sulked for hours after the last episode of The Returned.

Thousands and Thousands of Words

Makes a great carrot, don't you think?

Makes a great carrot, don’t you think?

There’s a whiff of the self-congratulatory in the air this week. Part 2 of the book is completed and more than 64,000 words totted up. My mum likes it (bless her for her bias) and my nephews enjoy having it read to them – mainly, I suspect, because I have named characters after them.

So, two-thirds of the way through means the end is in sight, hmm…? Sadly not I fear. As my top of the range (not) printer is a little on the temperamental side, I haven’t printed out any of the book yet and I fear than when I do I will spot mistakes by the millions. (“Uncle Ted’s here in chapter 14? But he died in an horrific freak accident involving a fruit bowl in chapter 7.”) I’ve also been adding in bits to chapters as I go on, so there are parts of it that feel really disjointed and contrived. And as for my horrible mangling of sentences… grammarians would shudder in horror, I fear.

Tidying up a typo or two is only a tiny part of it though. The author Elizabeth Buchan writes her novels three times. Three times! But I do reckon that when I read over everything I’ve written, I will make decisions about material that needs to be added in – and hard decisions about what needs to be taken out. Even if I cry a bit when I press ‘delete’. And after all that, there will be the hell of trying to get published. And then persuading people that my little book is worth shelling out £6.99 (say) for.

But anyway, enough of my Brit self-effacement. Two-thirds of the way through – that bottle of champagne beckons. My sister bought me a bottle of Veuve Cliquot 2004 Vintage as a wedding present.* I joked that my husband and I would either drink it to celebrate our first anniversary or when I finished my book – whichever came first. Now it’s beginning to look as if that baby will be cracked open well before we’re trying to come up with creative gift ideas with paper.**

*I’d like to be a champagne connoiseur, but the pennies don’t permit it. If they did, Veuve Cliquot would be my tipple of choice.

**Paper is what you celebrate your first year anniversary with. Apparently.