Category Archives: rejections

I FEAR SUCCESS

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I don’t fear rejection, I’m used to rejection. I’m familiar with the sensation that rejection brings. The stomach sinking, tears in your eyes, fists in the air type of feeling that I’ve experienced too many times to count. I’m an expert when it comes to rejection. I expect rejection.

I fear success.

I dream of success but the thought of it actually happening terrifies me. I have grown so accustomed to living life in a little corner of the universe that the idea of stepping out from the shadows to share with the world my imagination makes my heart pound faster than normal. What if my dream came true? Could I handle it?

I’ve never been on a plane. What if I did make it, would I be able to jet off to another state to promote my book or do author signings? Could I face that fear?

I have feared success most of my life. It’s a weird fear to have because there is no guarantee that it can be faced.

My fear of boarding a plane can be conquered. I can book a flight today to face this fear. But, there is no guarantee that one will become successful. Being successful means different things to everyone. For me, success would be becoming a well-known author with many published books. This may never happen and if it doesn’t, I can never face the fear.

Yes, I fear success. The thought of it makes my stomach turn and causes my palms to sweat, but the fear of never finding success may be worse.

Do you fear success?

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Filed under BLOG, dreaming, emotions, rejections, Uncategorized, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

WHY I NEED PITCH WARS

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Writers know what it means to struggle. We struggle with words. We struggle with plots. We struggle with characters and their development. We struggle with word counts and then we struggle with trying to get our work published.

At the beginning of my journey, everything felt somewhat easy. I was only writing a few months, when a poem of mine placed runner-up in a contest held by the SCBWI. It didn’t take me long to get published in a few children’s magazines. I was over the moon, when a short story of mine was bought by ABC studios for a pilot series they were about to launch. I gained more confidence when another story was published in one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

I was receiving many requests for my middle-grade story which my instructor at the Institute of Children’s Literature said he didn’t think would take long for an agent to snatch. I was hopeful. But all those requests turned into rejections. I received many personalized rejections, but they were rejections nevertheless.

I did what a lot of writers do. I tucked my manuscript away and started writing a new one. It was my first attempt at writing YA. The idea came from a dream. Yes, you’ve heard that one before, but honest to God, it did. The dream occurred about a week prior to NanoWrimo (lucky me). I thought, Why Not? I had nothing to lose and some time to spare.

I can’t remember if I completed the ms within the month, but it was certainly on its way to becoming my second completed manuscript.

After many critique sessions and hours and hours of edits, I had a shiny new manuscript. After some encouragement and great feedback, I was ready to bring this new manuscript to a writer’s conference.

I submitted my first pages to a well-known author and a few agents prior to the conference and counted the days until I’d be in their presence hearing their thoughts.

I became giddy when during the one-on-one with the author, she told me that mine was her favorite and she even put stars all along the top to remind her when I came up to her table to receive my feedback. She said she saw this book as a movie and she, like my instructor at the ICL said she didn’t think it would be long for me to snatch an agent.

I also met with an agent one-on-one that day, who also seemed equally excited. She gave me ideas and said to forward her the whole manuscript when I returned home. She explained that she didn’t care if the writing was still raw and the story was still developing, she would help me hash it out.
I was there. I was close to achieving my goal. I imagined my book cover. I dreamed of going on author signings and now it felt like those dreams may come true.

But then, nothing happened. Nothing. The agent and I spoke via e-mail a few times and then she left her agency. My writing partner decided that she wasn’t going to write anymore. Hope turned to despair and I convinced myself that it was only a pipe dream. A silly dream that was never going to come true.

I sulked, I cried, I gave up. But, then I came back. I started again. I was not going to quit dreaming. I was not going to quit writing.

My journey began again. I started sending out queries. Once again, I started receiving requests. But, those requests turned into rejections and the new-found hope was once again starting to diminish. Self-doubt returned.

What I learned through the querying process for both manuscripts is that both have something that catches the agent’s attention enough for them to request, but there must be something lacking that makes them decide not to offer representation.

I need Pitch Wars because maybe the mentors can help me see what is missing. I’m not afraid of hard work. I will do what needs to be done.

Everyone entering Pitch Wars needs it for a reason, what is your reason?

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Filed under authors, pitch wars, rejections, Uncategorized, writing, Writing

Would You Want To Know?

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Lately, I’ve been in a funk. I’ve been wondering about my writing career, asking myself if I really think all the dreams I have had for the last decade or so will ever really come true. Most days I’m an optimist, but there are those few days that I sit questioning everything and anything.
I got to thinking, What if someone who sees the future told you they can tell you with absolute certainty if you will ever break through? Would you want to know? Would it make a difference?
What if the answer was no, would you keep writing?
Let’s face it, writers are filled with dreams of the future. The possibilities of what can be are great motivators. Sure, we all write because it’s our passion, our love, our sanity, but a great amount of us write hoping that someday our words will be read by thousands maybe even millions of people.
It would be nice to know for sure if that moment we are waiting for will eventually come. However, I’m not sure I’d want to know for sure.
I write because my soul feels complete when I am putting the pen to the paper. I’m hopeful that my perseverance will pay off. If someone told me my dreams will never come true it would crush me. On the reverse, if they said I will one day be a best-selling author, I might write more furiously so I can get to that point quicker, but still it wouldn’t be the same.
As much as I hate not knowing what will become of me and my words, it’s the not knowing that pushes me forward, keeps me going, and drives me to produce more.
So, if someone with a crystal ball said, “I can tell you if you will find success.” It’s a possibility that I’d say, “Okay, tell me.” but then I might find myself regretting finding out.
How about you? Would you want to know?

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Filed under meme, novel, random, rejections, story telling, Uncategorized, writer's life, writers, Writing

The Forgotten and Undiscovered-A Writer’s Fear

Last week I stumbled upon a few totes filled with my writings from years ago. Discovering my earlier work made me smile and delayed my cleaning (of course, I had to stop what I was doing and read through each and every piece). Most were short stories. There were a few poems (one which I entered into the SCBWI monthly writing contest. I was extremely excited when I got word I placed runner-up), a couple of assignments (back from when I took classes with the ICL), and some scribbled notes for my then incomplete but now complete middle-grade novel.
After reviewing and reflecting on my earlier writings, a realization punched me in the gut. Most of those writings will never see the outside of those totes. They have been sentenced to the world of forgotten and undiscovered.
Sure, one day when I’m wildly famous (it could happen right?) someone might steal those totes and sell the contents for a hefty sum (okay, maybe it’s more likely they will use them to start a fire) but chances are they will remain where they are.
The next day while driving, I thought about how many great pieces of works are out there that will never be read. The thought saddened me immensely. Someone right now can be writing a best seller but because of lack of time, fear, rejection or insecurity it will never become what it could be. Someone might have already wrote a timeless piece but for whatever reason it sits in a desk. If there is one thing that makes me panic, it is the possibility of leaving this world with totes filled of unpublished writings.
What’s your fear when it comes to writing?

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Filed under books, life, rejections, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

Perseverance

If you really want your writing to become something then you have no choice but to persevere. When I began writing, I thought, How hard can this be? Write a few stories, submit to some major publishing houses and instantly become discovered. Ten years later, I look back at my younger self and think, Wow are you naïve. Sure, a few things happened early on that made me think no sweat, but the prize I’m searching for has not yet been found.
I am proud of the recognitions I have received along the way but I still have hopes for more. The goal at this point in my life is to land an agent and see my manuscripts in print. Currently, I have possibilities which completely excite me but if for whatever reason they get denied, I plan on persevering.

For today’s a to z challenge I have decided to list a few of my favorite perseverance quotes. Which was one is your favorite? Do you have one you would like to share?

• “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” Walter Elliott

• “All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man has taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

• “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful men keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” Conrad Hilton

• “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again.” [Proverbs 24:16] Bible

• “In order to get from what was to what will be, you must go through what is.” Anonymous

• “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” General Dwight Eisenhower

• “Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.” Richard L. Evans

• “Perseverance is a positive, active characteristic. It is not idly, passively waiting and hoping for some good thing to happen. It gives us hope by helping us realize that the righteous suffer no failure except in giving up and no longer trying. We must never give up, regardless of temptations, frustrations, disappointments, or discouragements.” Joseph P. Wirthlin

• “Defeat is simply a signal to press onward.” Helen Keller

• You may not receive what you hope for today, but tomorrow may bring the reward you weren’t expecting. Keep writing for tomorrow because it will eventually come. Maribeth Graham (aka me)

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Filed under books, Inspirational, life, rejections, story writing, writer's life, writers, Writing

Rejection

Out of the darkness comes a fist to your face.
Smashing against flesh
Distorting
Mangling
Upsetting
Laughing at your inability to stay fresh
You fall to the ground weak and unable to rise
A leg from somewhere delivers a kick
Smashing your soul
Rattling
Pounding
Destroying
Unsympathetic that you now feel sick
Curled up and sobbing you shield yourself
“No more, no more, please let me be.”
Pleading
Cursing
Screaming
“Why? Why? Why don’t you believe in me?”
You wait for the next impact but it never comes
Peeking out of a bruised eye you scan the room
Alone
Confused
Wasted
The fist uncurls and out stretches a hand
Get up!
Fight Back!
Toughen up!
Rejection stands before you wrapped in dark clothes
Clueless
Crazed
Suspended
Slowly you rise. You are ready to confront
“Why do you hate me what did I do?”
“My child, my child, do you not see? Acceptance without rejection wouldn’t be the same.”
“I am here to make you better not cause you shame.”

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Filed under emotions, Fiction, Inspirational, life, rejections, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

MY GUEST BLOG POST FOR AGENT BREE OGDEN

Do you think a writer needs to go on a diet? A writing diet that is. Check out my guest post over at This Literary Life. Bree Ogden (a super agent) was cool enough to allow me to write a blog for her site. It is the first time I have written for another blog as a guest and I’m super excited.

Make sure you leave a comment so I know you stopped by.

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Filed under audience, Author Interview, books, character, character building, constructing, creating, critique, critique groups, editing, Fiction, Inspirational, life, rejections, stories, story telling, story writing, Style, Voice, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing, Young Adult