If you are a writer, chances are you have a passion for seemingly impossible things.
That is why receiving a lot of rejection might hurt. But like anyone will tell you, it is not how many times you fall down, it is whether you get back up again. I would like to add this: It is also how you feel about yourself and your work as you move forward while coping with the writing demons who want to travel with you.
Remember, in order to get published, it takes just one publisher who really loves you and your work. Just one big YES. And the naysayers – whether internal or external – have a beauty of a time holding you back.
Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell all have received rejection letters only to persevere onto bestselling author status. According to Mental Floss, an online magazine, Ayn Rand sent in her manuscript The Fountainhead and received a curt reply that it was unsaleable and unpublishable. Random House picked up her work, reassuring Rand she would not be censored, and to date she has sold over seven million copies in the United States.
My own first rejection letter came in 1993 from one of the senior business editors at The Chicago Tribune. In a terse reply to my request to write full-time for the paper, he told me my writing clips revealed I did not have what it takes to write about business.
A year and a half later, I celebrated the publication of my first book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Money on Wall Street that, along with the other four books I have published, have sold almost 500,000 copies to date. I am grateful to the magazine, newspaper and book publishing editors and executives along the way who helped me achieve this first dream: John Wasik, Hugo Ottolenghi, Tom Seidell, Dennis Fertig, Bill Barnhart, Barry Pruett and my father, the late Robert K. Heady.
As writers, you were created for adventure, pursuit and pioneering. Pitfalls, rejection letters and tears might accompany you. Writing is a lifelong quest of discovery and growth. Kinda like a relationship when you know it’s good and healthy but the potholes hurt. Unfortunately, writing demons surface and keep a bigger dream wound tight in a button jar. Like a runner who trips over her own feet while training for her first marathon, dusting off the pebbles embedded in her legs, you get up again (I had to out of sheer embarrassment because my friends saw me, but I did set a personal record).
If you know where you are going, you will get to the finish line. So, if your ultimate life as a published author is waiting to be lived, what steps are you taking to bridge the gap to pretty much squash the uglies?
Do you disable your dream by believing the writing demons who lie to you and give you the very thing you fear (which usually is the very thing you create)? Or do you pack up your tent and shake off the “I’ll settle for what they tell me” mentality, knowing that something greater is writing your story as your write your book?
I have done both.
In their book, The One-Minute Millionaire , Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen offer a suggestion in a novel-like story set inside this financial tome on how to deal with unhealthy thoughts that bar you from success:
Imagine that demon as a person, a tiny person, in the palm of your hand. And then purse your lips and blow them away.
It’s amazing what you will see on your literary landscape when each one of your critics are reduced to dust.
If you want to be published and believe you were meant to share your message with others, make it official. Find a place where you can be alone and write about it. Not the project you are working on – but about your writing. Claim it. And then remind yourself often about this resolution of yours until it becomes such a part of you that nothing ever tears it away.
When you believe in the vision, the story of you and your book will find its happy ending.