Ignorance is Bliss

When I first quit my job and began writing, a family friend said to me, “But are you going to be able to deal with the rejection?”

I suppose my answer in the affirmative seemed too glib, because she followed up saying, “I don’t think you realize how hard it’s going to be.”

She was right.

I’ve written about rejection before and probably will again. As I’m learning with ever more force, it’s an inescapable staple of the publishing world.

Like many writers, I cling to the anthropomorphism of my work as a living, breathing extension of myself. In this context, it’s difficult not to take dismissal personal. My most blissful moments are those between send and reply when I’m free to fantasize the agent I’ve queried seated in front of her computer, enraptured by my words. Then comes the polite turndown.

One rejection letter I received from an agency said my writing was strong, but they just didn’t love the story. Ouch!

I love my story, why doesn’t everyone else?

Don’t worry. I’ve not forgone objectivity all together. I know I’ve not written the modern American equivalent of War and Peace. But a year and half ago, I was nothing more than a disgruntled nurse. Now I’m a writer. How could I not adore the fruit of that transformation, the legitimizing yolk of my professional existence?

With foresight I did not posses, my friend was right. Rejection is HARD. The “no’s” sink me into the pit of the doldrums and bleed me of my confidence. But the “maybes”, the requests for more pages (so far, I’ve had two), send me dancing and screaming through my apartment.

I shield myself from hope as much as I can, but sometimes it leaks through. The blow of rejection lands like punch to the gut. But hope, even that born of ignorance, is the sustenance of dreams. 

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4 thoughts on “Ignorance is Bliss

  1. In a weird way, I’m looking forward to rejections because at least they’ll mean I’m truly a writer 🙂 But I’m sure it’ll be hard still (I’m not to the submissions point yet). I guess it’s just good to look at them as one more reason to work harder, to change their minds.

    • I felt the same way when I received my first rejection–it’s kind of a right of passage. And you’re right, as the rejections pile up, it’s best to use them to fuel your motivation. I wanna be that writer that agents/publishers regret having passed up. Here’s hoping!!

  2. Very nicely put. I was fairly certain my first reply from a publisher was a rejection, but I couldn’t help letting that bit of hope bloom as I opened the letter. It was so disappointing!

    • Whenever I get an email from an agent, I sit frozen for a minute staring at my inbox. Don’t get excited, I tell myself, it’s probably a rejection. Even so, I’m always a little deflated when I open up the email and see yes, in fact, it is a rejection. By the time I get my novel published, I’m going to be made of steel! 😉

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