Friday, July 25, 2008

The 24 Hour Rule...

Rejection is a part of a writer's life both before being published and after. I can say with absolute certainty that every writer who receives a rejection feels validated that they are in fact a bonafide writer while at the same time feeling really, REALLY awful.

We all handle rejection differently. Depending on the story and how much I want to finish writing it I can range from being mildly disappointed to being unable to speak in between sobs as I cry to my agent and my critiquing partners on the phone. Since I've been writing for well over a decade, my writing friends, as well as my family, have seen me through quite a few rejections. I've been fortunate enough that in these last few years or so I haven't seen that many rejections on manuscripts I've submitted. I consider that a blessing I've been given as I now write stories that I love. It's been so long since I've received a rejection that I'd forgotten about the 24 rule I'd established long ago on how to handle them. This week I dusted off my rule book when a rejection came in with my name on it!

See, I'm a firm believer in forward motion. You don't get published if you sit and wallow too long. Why? Because when you're wallowing, you're not writing! The story can't get written if you're not writing. Yet we're all human and need to nurture the pain we feel. Let's face it, rejection levels our self confidence. It makes us feel we're no good at what we do. But if we allow those feelings to fester, they only get worse, not better. It stops our creativity and our forward motion.

So when I get a rejection on a manuscript I've submitted to a publisher, I allow myself 24 hours to feel really, really rotten. During that time I can cry to whoever will listen and hand me a tissue. I'll eat chocolate or chocolate ice cream. I'll get hugs from my family, support from my writer friends and even a kick when I need it. (Thanks, Pam!) And through all that the wheels start turning again.

Within 24 hours since my rejection coming in, I'd turned my attention away from the sting and focused on the next step. Hour one I cried. Hour two I talked about it. Hours 3-6 I don't know what I did, BUT I do know that by hour 7 I was getting a pep talk and kick from Pam and by hour 8 I was writing again. Only took 8 hours. By hour 11 (at 2:30AM) I was IMing with my agent, telling her "Don't worry. I'm back in the saddle." We even brainstormed a new series. I consider that a blessing!

If you're a writer, rejection is bound to get you at some point. And the worst thing that can happen is that it will prevent you from writing, prevent forward motion. So remember the 24 hour rule. Let yourself feel really bad for 24 hours and then move on. Either get your manuscript out the door to someone else or start writing something new.

Next week I'll be writing to you from San Francisco where I'll be meeting up with some of the other CRAFTIE LADIES of SUSPENSE.

Until next week, many blessings. Lisa Mondello


PamelaTracy said...

You owe me one left shoe.

Lisa Mondello said...

You know I'm good for it! :)

Ellen said...

The rule of 24 hours is good for other things too. My parents always told us kids that if we fought we had a limited time to make up. How long that time was depended on how old we were.
Sorry to hear of your rejection. But I know you will have another winning book.