Nerves of STEEL!! A heart imploded. Could it get any more raw? You've toiled and spun over a body of work. You've given it a pulse. You've given it a name. You're ready to POP!
That's the skinny. The thick AND the thin. It takes nerves of steel to share your art with the great "out there". Well, at least it does when you're putting your work out there for the critical eyes of the universe to see. Publishers, agents, editors... relatives. Those kinds of eyes...
What will they think? What will they SAY?? Should I buy some bandaids?
Here's a synopsis of what I told my second cousin today when she was preparing to send me one of her unpublished children's stories...
"I have a stack of rejection letters from publishers that's probably 2 inches thick! Most of them state the obvious in the kindest way possible: "...Thank you, but we're not interested... at this time. Tah-tah!" At first those letters made me miserable. BUT that was ONLY because I allowed the misery. I learned a few years ago that the letters that made me feel the worst were also the ones that made me grow the most as a writer. Hmmmm.
WHY?? Because it helped develop my own critical eye. It forced me back into the rejected stories to humbly ask "why?" Granted, those early stories have not yet been published. But the beauty of it all is, I now know why! That's not to say I won't someday revisit them and tweak the day lights out of them, but the very process of "rejection" pushed me forward to write more stories- stories that were greeted by the industry with open arms. So rejection, by a new standard, really means
opportunity. But you've heard that before. Rejection=Opportunity. Risk=Success. Pain=Growth. Yada-yada-ding-ding. Please pass the bandaids. Power Rangers or Cinderella?
Rejection=Opportunity. It come down to... courage. Rejection takes courage because it means we've put our selves out there. How else would we get rejected? We've taken the risk. We must accept the outcome. No matter how bloody it gets.
Courage keeps you moving. No slacking. No detours. Full speed ahead. Don't look down... it's quite a drop!!
Whenever my agent gives me feedback about a project, I remind myself not to be too attached to her remarks. I imagine her an angel, hinting lofty things. I listen carefully to her suggestions and then I pick and choose what feels right. It's very humbling because we think we know what's best, but sometimes it takes a seasoned professional to help us become something... better. It stretches us. My favorite feedback from my agent or editor is when they say, "this word(s) doesn't work for me/us. Carmela, go back and find something...else" I especially like this reply because it allows ME to retread. I go back and find something astoundlingly right for my story... and this something has the charge to make the thing pop."
And it's all about the POP!!!