I received an email from The Southeast Review announcing that the winners had been chosen for the 2009 poetry contest. I scrolled through the names and noticed mine was not there. Rejection. I had been so happy with my entries and really thought they had a chance. No such luck.
Rejection is the hardest part about being a writer. After I finished my first novel I got so excited and sent it out to nearly 50 literary agents. I managed to score one partial request (an agent asked to read 5 chapters) which resulted quickly in a rejection, but that was it. I spent months sending out letters and waiting for responses, only to end up back at the drawing board, writing a new novel, hoping for another chance.
Now I’m at that stage again. So far, I’ve sent 10 query letters out for “The Circle Home” and all have resulted in rejections. And I am officially terrified. This book is very close to my heart. In so many ways, the main character, Emily, is me and I really want to see her in print. Other writers keep reminding me about how many rejections Stephen King, John Grisham, and Robert Olen Butler received before they were published, but that doesn’t seem to help. I just think of Stephenie Meyer and Nicholas Sparks and how they got their agents within two days of querying (or something absurd like that). The life and future of this novel all come down to a three paragraph letter. If I can’t summarize 60,000 words in 150 words or less than forget about it.
So with the receipt of this latest rejection, I am trying to figure out just how to perservere. Writing has always been one of my passions. I stopped writing for over ten years, but somehow found my way back to it. I like to think there was a reason for that, that perhaps I found my way back to the path I was meant to travel.