The “You Don’t Suck” File

I’m going to recycle an old post today because I’m a complete and utter slacker I’ve got a busy week ahead. I hope you enjoy this one…it’s one of my favorites :).  ******************************************************************

Rejection.

Every writer fears it. Every published author knows it intimately. Most writers/authors even keep these rejections all together in a file folder or a box.

To combat the overwhelming feeling of Look at all these people who think you’re a horrible writer. You should just give up NOW! that occurs when opening my rejection file, I’ve created a “I Don’t Suck” file.

What is an “I Don’t Suck” file?

It’s antivenom to the sting of rejection.

Mine is a file folder stuffed (well, not stuffed, but it does have some weight to it) with positive things people–especially other writers–have said about my writing.

Why do writers need an “I Don’t Suck” file?

Simple. When you are mired in despair, or looking at a fresh rejection, or thinking about giving up, you can pull out this file you’ve created for just such an occasion, open it up, and read all the good things people have said about your work.

In mine, I have various critiques of my first paragraphs, pages, chapters, and even the whole thing, encouraging email exchanges from published authors, and several of the comments from the “My Novel” section on my blog.

Most recently, I opened it to insert the judges feedback from the first writing contest I ever entered (The Heart of the West RWA contest…my score was 194 out of 200, which is cool, but the judge’s comments were worth their weight in gold for my writing self-esteem–especially since two of them were published authors.).

Why bother creating such a file?

Because rejection, if you let it, can lead you down the path of Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. Maybe I’m wasting my time. (Insert your favorite “mired in despair” comment here). 

Cure the sting and make a “I Don’t Suck” file of your own.

And finally, can rejection ever be funny? 

Yep.

Literary Rejections on Display. Funny letters, funnier comments, and by reading other writer’s rejections you’ll know you’re not alone.

10 Funniest Rejection Letters. Actual rejection letters from Mad Magazine, Disney Productions, and many more. Hilarious!

The “Fun” vs “Business” Sides of Writing

This week has been a bit hectic and I haven’t had the time to write a new post so here’s a re-post from earlier this year…
 
On a related note, the 539 piece Lego house is FINALLY complete! 🙂
 
I belong to a writing critique group and during a meeting one of the members said something that got me thinking.
 
“Christi, all you’ve done lately is revise chapter after chapter of your novel and work on your synopsis, proposal, and loglines. You’re putting so much effort into making everything absolutely perfect that it doesn’t seem you get to have fun with your writing anymore.”
 
He’s right. It is hard work doing all the things needed to get published. Writing and polishing my novel was only the beginning. Creating the synopsis was tedious at best, the pitch sentence took days, and the book proposal, though finished, is still woefully inadequate and will need additional revisions. Don’t even get me started on the query letter.
 
The path to publication is also expensive. Writing conferences, reams of paper, printer cartridges, “how to write” books, membership dues to various writing clubs—all these costs add up quick.
 
Then there’s the social networking aspect to make sure you can actually sell your book once a publisher takes you on. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, building a platform, writing your bio, maintaining an email database and sending out newsletters to every person that expressed any interest whatsoever about your writing, and finally reading, and commenting on, fellow author blogs.
 
Don’t forget about the staggering amount of time it takes for a successful career in writing. First there’s hours, days, years spent in front of the computer researching, writing and revising your own work. Then you’ve got to find and read comparable works for reference and to make sure your own measures up, critique partner manuscripts, and somewhere in there you’ve got to read for pleasure.
 
After all that, when you’ve honed every last word of your manuscript/query letter/synopsis/book proposal/logline/pitch to shining perfection you send your work out. Then comes the crushing blows of all the various stages of rejection. And fighting back the self-doubt. And the niggling fear in the back of your mind of “Am I good enough?”
 
Publishing is not for the weak, and even the most determined writer needs to take a break and regroup from time to time. I am no exception.
 
This last week I decided to relax for a bit since I’ve been working so hard lately. But, during my time off, book two in the series (the sequel to my first novel) continued to wait, patiently beckoning, knowing I can’t resist. The fourth night of my self-imposed “writing rest” found me thumbing through the pages longingly and soon I found myself filling the margins with notes and ideas.
 
It was during this moment when I realized, to an extent, my writing critique partner is right. This is the part that I love the most. As I flip through page after page of my “already written but needing a serious revision sequel” ideas come forth and make their way to the paper with no worries of storyline, word choice, grammar–all the things that slow the flow of ideas.
 
However, my ultimate goal is seeing my book(s) published. And since the “business” part of writing is how they’ll get on those shelves, consider me a businesswoman!

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

This is a re-post from earlier this year, but I really like it so I’m running it again 🙂
I belong to a writing critique group and during a meeting one of the members said something that got me thinking.
 
“Christi, all you’ve done lately is revise chapter after chapter of your novel and work on your synopsis, proposal, and loglines. You’re putting so much effort into making everything absolutely perfect that it doesn’t seem you get to have fun with your writing anymore.”
 
He’s right. It is hard work doing all the things needed to get published. Writing and polishing my novel was only the beginning. Creating the synopsis was tedious at best, the pitch sentence took days, and the book proposal, though finished, is still woefully inadequate and will need additional revisions. Don’t even get me started on the query letter.
 
The path to publication is also expensive. Writing conferences, reams of paper, printer cartridges, “how to write” books, membership dues to various writing clubs—all these costs add up quick.
 
Then there’s the social networking aspect to make sure you can actually sell your book once a publisher takes you on. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, building a platform, writing your bio, maintaining an email database and sending out newsletters to every person that expressed any interest whatsoever about your writing, and finally reading, and commenting on, fellow author blogs.
 
Don’t forget about the staggering amount of time it takes for a successful career in writing. First there’s hours, days, years spent in front of the computer researching, writing and revising your own work. Then you’ve got to find and read comparable works for reference and to make sure your own measures up, critique partner manuscripts, and somewhere in there you’ve got to read for pleasure.
 
After all that, when you’ve honed every last word of your manuscript/query letter/synopsis/book proposal/logline/pitch to shining perfection you send your work out. Then comes the crushing blows of all the various stages of rejection. And fighting back the self-doubt. And the niggling fear in the back of your mind of “Am I good enough?”
 
Publishing is not for the weak, and even the most determined writer needs to take a break and regroup from time to time. I am no exception.
 
This last week I decided to relax for a bit since I’ve been working so hard lately. But, during my time off, book two in the series (the sequel to my first novel) continued to wait, patiently beckoning, knowing I can’t resist. The fourth night of my self-imposed “writing rest” found me thumbing through the pages longingly and soon I found myself filling the margins with notes and ideas.
 
It was during this moment when I realized, to an extent, my writing critique partner is right. This is the part that I love the most. As I flip through page after page of my “already written but needing a serious revision sequel” ideas come forth and make their way to the paper with no worries of storyline, word choice, grammar–all the things that slow the flow of ideas.
 
However, my ultimate goal is seeing my book(s) published. And since the “business” part of writing is how they’ll get on those shelves, consider me a businesswoman!

The “You Don’t Suck” File

Rejection.

Every writer fears it. Every published author knows it intimately. Most writers/authors even keep these rejections all together in a file folder or a box.

To combat the overwhelming feeling of Look at all these people who think you’re a horrible writer. You should just give up NOW! that occurs when opening my rejection file, I’ve created a “I Don’t Suck” file.

What is an “I Don’t Suck” file?

It’s antivenom to the sting of rejection.

Mine is a file folder stuffed (well, not stuffed, but it does have some weight to it) with positive things people–especially other writers–have said about my writing.

Why do writers need an “I Don’t Suck” file?

Simple. When you are mired in despair, or looking at a fresh rejection, or thinking about giving up, you can pull out this file you’ve created for just such an occasion, open it up, and read all the good things people have said about your work.

In mine, I have various critiques of my first paragraphs, pages, chapters, and even the whole thing, encouraging email exchanges from published authors, and several of the comments from the “My Novel” section on my blog.

Most recently, I opened it to insert the judges feedback from the first writing contest I ever entered (The Heart of the West RWA contest…my score was 194 out of 200, which is cool, but the judge’s comments were worth their weight in gold for my writing self-esteem–especially since two of them were published authors.).

Why bother creating such a file?

Because rejection, if you let it, can lead you down the path of Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. Maybe I’m wasting my time. (Insert your favorite “mired in despair” comment here). 

Cure the sting and make a “I Don’t Suck” file of your own.

And finally, can rejection ever be funny? 

Yep.

Literary Rejections on Display. Funny letters, funnier comments, and by reading other writer’s rejections you’ll know you’re not alone.

10 Funniest Rejection Letters. Actual rejection letters from Mad Magazine, Disney Productions, and many more. Hilarious!

Guest Host: Margo Kelly

Today marks a momentous occasion… my 150th post.

For my 50th post I had my husband host, and for the 100th post the lovely Lydia Sharp kindly agreed to host.  And now, my wonderful critique partner has agreed to be my guest host for the 150th post.

Margo Kelly writes for the YA market and also keeps a very informative blog. She recently jumped on the query train and received two FULL requests! (insert round of applause here).

And now, without further ado, here’s Margo…

Wahoo! YAY! Christi’s blog is awesome, consistent, and helpful. And, I’m thrilled to be asked to guest host today. Thanks.

January 2009, I found myself flat in bed with a back injury. I had to cancel everything in my life. Everything. As a self-employed person and a busy mom of three, I thought there was no way the world would continue to spin if I stepped off for awhile. But, I found out that while I stayed in bed, the world continued on without me. My children learned to ride the bus (instead of me driving them to school every day). The parents of my cub scouts learned it was actually their job to help their boys advance and they could do it without me. My husband and children picked up all the slack around the house. Friends brought in meals. I read a lot of books. Really, the only thing that suffered from this experience was my business. As I was forced to stay in bed for weeks and weeks, I wondered what I would do with my life, and how I would rebuild my business. Frankly, I wondered if I even wanted to rebuild my business!

During these long periods of self-reflection, I remembered what I wanted to be when I grew up: a writer!  How could I have forgotten that childhood dream? 

So, I began to read books on writing and to study the craft. I finished my first novel in four months and decided this was going to be a piece of cake! No problem. (Oh… how little did I know!)

Then, I started the query process.  To this day, I feel like the query process is a jigsaw puzzle… but the pieces keep moving, and the picture keeps changing. How can anyone be successful with so many pieces changing constantly?

Some say it’s luck. It may be. I believe luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Sometimes, the opportunity comes more quickly for certain people (not me). And, they appear very lucky.

Often, people decide it is a game of chance, and they decide to quit.

Other people don’t even want to face the risk of rejection, because they fear the rejection is equivalent to failure.

These are the people who will probably never be published in the traditional market… because they quit the process.

I won’t quit. I figure if I stick to that decision, eventually, my preparation will meet with opportunity and I will be the lucky one who gets published.

The two keys are: preparation and opportunity.  First, I must prepare by writing, writing, writing, and researching and improving my craft. Second, I must seek out the opportunities. This means submitting my work, sending query letters, and attending conferences. It will happen.  Because I’m determined.

If you are a writer, join with others who have your same (or higher) level of determination. Hang out with people who are supportive. Forget the negative people who say you’re wasting your time. You (and I) can do this!

I’ve received sixty-three rejections for my first manuscript, MANIFESTED, and two requests for additional material.  Statistics show that most first manuscripts never get published. So, what have I done? I’ve written a second novel.

My second novel, THE EDUCATION OF THIA, has received fifteen rejections and three requests for full manuscripts. My odds are improving.  🙂 So, what will I do now? I will start a third novel. I’m continuing the process and moving forward with my goals. The odds will just keep getting better.

Hang in there, and your odds will improve as well!

If you’d like to read the first chapters of these stories, feel free to check out my website: http://www.margokelly.net/

If you’d like to follow my journey on the road to publishing, join me on Facebook and/or Blogspot:

http://facebook.dj/margokelly

http://www.margokelly.blogspot.com/

Leave a message when you stop by. I look forward to sharing the journey with you!

Margo Kelly

The “Fun” Part vs. the “Business” Part

I entered this post in a guest hosting contest over at Pimp My Novel, but it wasn’t selected so I’m posting it here…(some of the time references are off since it was submitted nearly a month ago)
 
I belong to a writing critique group and during a meeting one of the members said something that got me thinking.
 
“Christi, all you’ve done lately is revise chapter after chapter of your novel and work on your synopsis, proposal, and loglines. You’re putting so much effort into making everything absolutely perfect that it doesn’t seem you get to have fun with your writing anymore.”
 
He’s right. It is hard work doing all the things needed to get published. Writing and polishing my novel was only the beginning. Creating the synopsis was tedious at best, the pitch sentence took days, and the book proposal, though finished, is still woefully inadequate and will need additional revisions. Don’t even get me started on the query letter.
 
The path to publication is also expensive. Writing conferences, reams of paper, printer cartridges, “how to write” books, membership dues to various writing clubs—all these costs add up quick.
 
Then there’s the social networking aspect to make sure you can actually sell your book once a publisher takes you on. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, building a platform, writing your bio, maintaining an email database and sending out newsletters to every person that expressed any interest whatsoever about your writing, and finally reading, and commenting on, fellow author blogs.
 
Don’t forget about the staggering amount of time it takes for a successful career in writing. First there’s hours, days, years spent in front of the computer researching, writing and revising your own work. Then you’ve got to find and read comparable works for reference and to make sure your own measures up, critique partner manuscripts, and somewhere in there you’ve got to read for pleasure.
 
After all that, when you’ve honed every last word of your manuscript/query letter/synopsis/book proposal/logline/pitch to shining perfection you send your work out. Then comes the crushing blows of all the various stages of rejection. And fighting back the self-doubt. And the niggling fear in the back of your mind of “Am I good enough?”
 
Publishing is not for the weak, and even the most determined writer needs to take a break and regroup from time to time. I am no exception.
 
This last week I decided to relax for a bit since I’ve been working so hard lately. But, during my time off, book two in the series (the sequel to my first novel) continued to wait, patiently beckoning, knowing I can’t resist. The fourth night of my self-imposed “writing rest” found me thumbing through the pages longingly and soon I found myself filling the margins with notes and ideas.
 
It was during this moment when I realized, to an extent, my writing critique partner is right. This is the part that I love the most. As I flip through page after page of my “already written but needing a serious revision sequel” ideas come forth and make their way to the paper with no worries of storyline, word choice, grammar–all the things that slow the flow of ideas.
 
However, my ultimate goal is seeing my book(s) published. And since the “business” part of writing is how they’ll get on those shelves, consider me a businesswoman!