I received a(nother) rejection last week for a novella I'm trying to find a publishing home for. Even though we were on vacation with limited internet access, my immediate reaction was to figure out where I should submit it next. The moment I had an opportunity, I went ahead and completed the submission.
As I reflected on that gut reaction to send the story out again right away, I realized that's pretty much how I always have handled setbacks. Depending on the circumstances and level of disappointment, I might take a little time to grieve, but my preference is to jump ahead and try to move on before I can even really process the sting of failure. I think it tends in part from my impatience, in part from my tendency to way over-think things if I give myself too much time.
Anyway, this is a Your Turn! post, so enough about me :) Now I want to hear from YOU! How do you handle failures or setbacks in your life, writing-related or otherwise? Do you take time to regroup? Do you change your plan? What are your strategies for recovering and moving on?
See you next time!
For me, it depends somewhat on the context and nature of the setback. But I usually try to step back and prayerfully examine the situation. Did I have expectations I wasn't aware of? Are my goals and timeframe realistic or unrealistic? Am I aiming at the right target? Is this really a setback, or protection from a mistake (or from making a fool of myself)? Is there something I need to look at or do differently? What's the lesson for me (there's always something to learn from disappointments, if we look deep enough)? And once I've examined it, and prayed about it, I might submit it to trusted friends or colleagues to get an outside perspective. Then I move forward in whatever direction I believe God is leading me.ReplyDelete
I definitely need to work on being more prayerful about the publishing side of things. I always pray for God to be with me in writing, but less so when submitting. And you're so right that there's always something to learn, and sometimes it's a matter of unrealistic goals or expectations. Thanks for commenting, Patrice!Delete
Re-Submitting it before thinking about the rejection too much is not a bad strategy. I haven't gotten to the point yet where I would be submitting books for publication, but I might take that approach to heart.ReplyDelete
I'm an over-thinker too, and I have what I call slow emotions. For example, if someone says something that angers me at 10am, it's about 3pm that I'm the angriest. So the idea of acting first and then processing emotions later sounds like it would be a good plan.
After several failures I'd probably take time to re-evaluate and make sure there isn't something I could be doing better.
Thanks for commenting, Jemma! I like what you said about slow emotions - I'm the same way that my full reaction doesn't usually hit until later. Good luck with your writing!Delete
I still struggle quite a bit in receiving critiques. A thorough critique directs my thoughts to all the work I have yet to do before success is possible. I WANT to improve, of course, but I have a tendency to take failure as permanent all-or-nothing failure, so I have to be careful to recount the positive steps I've made in my writing journey... I may not be published yet, but I've learned A LOT about writing, for example. After a hard critique, I might avoid revisions for a while... which is not necessarily the most positive strategy. Better strategies have been to write myself a writer's devotion (some of which make it onto my blog) and to start easy (brainstorming critique fixes, for example).ReplyDelete
I know exactly what you mean - it's nice to know what needs to improve, but it's so overwhelming thinking about the amount of work that needs to be done! I actually think it makes sense to avoid revisions for a while, sometimes having a fresh perspective on it can really help. Thanks for commenting!Delete