I had one of those rare experiences recently that only happen to a writer once or twice in a lifetime.
A rejection that didn’t hurt.
I was talking to an editor who had to turn down an idea I have for a book, but he was so nice about it, it was hard for me to remember he was saying “no.” That was such a pleasant change from the rejections that would send me reeling…
“How dare they not LOVE my book?”
“My life is ruined.”
“It’s a conspiracy. I know it is.”
Sounds a little paranoid, I know, but for a long time the only thing I had to attest to my credibility as a writer was my basic insecurity.
Writers are insecure for a lot of reasons. Some of us were born that way, but for others it’s accumulated over the years like a fringe unbenefit.
Not only do we have to deal with the possibility and reality of rejection on a continuing basis, we also have to work in a professional vacuum. We don’t get to discuss the latest Idol reject at the water cooler, or get some direct feedback on the day to day accomplishments of our job. Nobody here to pat me on the back except my cat, and he’d rather sleep in front of my monitor.
Sometimes this isolation is so intense, I feel like I’m in the middle of a desert, and one kind word about my work can be as refreshing as a drop of nectar.
This morning I got a whole six pack of refreshment. Not only did this editor give me one kind word, he gave me another, and another, until my head was practically swimming in nectar.
We all know that we write because we think we have something to say, hopefully, something important and meaningful. Even when we get discouraged, we seem to still be drawn to the keyboard, if the cat will let us, to impart some other words of wisdom or finely crafted prose.
But if that was all there was to it, we wouldn’t care if our words ever saw print. And I have yet to meet a writer who didn’t care. It’s good to want to say all those nice things, but the whole process would undeniably be meaningless if no one was ever going to read what we write.
The added bonus comes when someone reads the work and thinks it’s good. Or better yet, great, wonderful, fantastic and terrific.
Family members don’t count since they may be more than a little prejudiced, especially if they think dinner may hang in the balance.
A diverse writer of columns, feature stores, short fiction, novels, screenplays and stage plays, Maryann Miller has won numerous awards including being a semi-finalist at the Sundance Institute for her screenplay, A Question Of Honor. Her work has appeared in regional and national publications, and the Rosen Publishing Group in New York published her non-fiction books for teens, including the award-winning Coping with Weapons and Violence In School and On Your Streets. A novel, One Small Victory, was released from Five Star in June 2008. Play It Again, Sam is a July release from Uncial Press as an e-book. Other experience includes extensive work as a PR consultant, a script doctor, and an editor. She is currently the Managing Editor of WinnsboroToday.com, an online community magazine. She has been writing all her life and plans to die at her computer.