Following up on Monday’s blog, here are more rejection stories from our 2019 faculty.
Rejections! Oh yes! Thank God because I only want my best in print, but in my haste and excitement, I’ve sent out pieces too early, before they were truly ready. It’s only in hindsight I can appreciate these form rejections.
But the personal ones have been so educational. The first is encouragement to keep at it–it is good to receive a letter saying that while they cannot use this particular piece, they want to see more from me because they enjoy my style of writing. The second is pushing me to dig deeper into a story. And third, realizing that although a story is just right, they feel they cannot sell enough copies to make a profit, that they hope another publisher will see it differently.
Marketing can shoot down many proposals; it *is* a business after all, but even marketing can be wrong. It’s a guessing game, a gamble. Nobody knows if a book will soar or tank. Some books make a splash, other books grow in readership steadily, and some books tank even after throwing good money into advertising.
Publishers are often averse to taking a risk on an unknown author. So what’s a writer to do? First believe! Have the courage of your convictions. Focus on the craft. Learn the business. And try again. Thank God the big Five aren’t the only options. There are mid-sized, smaller, independent publishers as well as self-publishing. This is a great time to be writing, shining, reflecting the Light of Christ. In an ever-darkening world, your light needn’t be big to dispel the darkness. Be salt and light. Be “So Good They Can’t Ignore You.” ~ I love this title of Cal Newport’s book and taking it as my motto for this writing life God has given me. Follow Vijaya on her blog.
The road to publication can be a long, arduous journey. While many press on ahead and overcome the obstacles and setbacks, others lag behind wondering if they’ll ever make it. They might even wonder if it’s worth the price they have to pay. I’ve seen a few give up and walk away from their dream and passion.
Let’s face it, rejection can be difficult. And criticism—even given constructively—is no picnic. And the waiting can be torture. Watching others rise to the top can make us envious and cause us to question our own talents and abilities. We begin to doubt ourselves and focus on our weaknesses, wondering if we even have what it takes.
When that discouragement sets in, we are faced with the decision to quit or keep moving forward, trusting the One who empowers us to do whatever He has called us to do. God has a plan for us, and His timing is always perfect. Take to heart these words by Sarah Young in Jesus Calling:
“My plan for your life is unfolding before you. Sometimes the road you are traveling seems blocked, or it opens up so painfully slowly that you must hold yourself back. Then, when the time is right, the way before you suddenly clears—through no effort of your own. What you have longed for and worked for I present to you freely, as pure gift.
Do not fear your weakness, for it is the stage on which My Power and Glory perform most brilliantly. As you persevere along the path I have prepared for you, depending on My strength to sustain you, expect to see miracles. Miracles are not always visible to the naked eye, but those who live by faith can see them clearly. “
If God has given you the gift of words, trust Him to open the right doors of opportunity in His perfect timing. While you’re in the waiting stage, do whatever you can to hone your skills. Take a class. Attend a conference. Join or start a critique group. Study books on the craft of writing. Start a blog. Update your blog. Enter a contest. Submit a magazine article. Write a devotion and submit it to www.ChristianDevotions.us
(that’s where I got my start).
Whatever you do, don’t quit. Keep writing for the Lord, and remember the words of Jeremiah 29:11: “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (MSG).
How have you overcome obstacles and conquered discouragement on your own road to publication? We would love to hear from you.