Last night’s mail contained a rejection of Luke’s #1 Rule from Harlequin. As soon as I saw the envelope, my heart dropped. I didn’t have to open it. I already knew it was a rejection. My husband brought in the mail, and I slid the envelope from the pile of mail and hid it behind my back. I didn’t want him to know that, once again, I had failed.
He didn’t notice as he’d just played a round of golf and was ready to hop in the shower. I was able to open my mail in private and it was as I had somehow known in my gut. The editor said very nice things about my writing and offered to look at anything else I have to show her.
What did me in was not explaining my character’s motivations in the synopsis. As a result, this editor could not believe in these characters and their actions. I need to read the ms. again to see if I make the motivations strong enough. It could be that I did, and just failed to convey it in the synopsis. Whatever it was, bottom line–my novel was rejected. Again.
I have been reading Eckhart Tolle, who uses an effective way to transform pain. His idea is to feel the pain, but don’t attach a story to it. So I tried that. My heart felt heavy. My gut twisted. My throat closed. I let myself feel these emotions and each time I was tempted to go back into my rejection story, I shut that story off and just stayed with my emotions. By the time my husband had finished his shower, I was feeling better.
I still didn’t tell him, though. I wanted to watch the season premiere of Burn Notice with him. We have very few television programs in common and this is one. We’d both been eagerly anticipating the new season of Michael and friends. I did make myself a chocolate martini, but Al didn’t think that was anything out of the ordinary. We had a nice evening together without the weight of rejection spoiling things.
This morning when I woke up, the pain was still there. I continued to set aside the story and stay with my feelings. Soon, I saw a brighter side to the rejection. I do have a new book I’ve been wanting to write. I haven’t written anything new in so long. So, I can send her those new pages when they’re finished. But first, I want to complete Sugar Shack and get in on Kindle. It’s almost ready. And now I have even more incentive to finish the Kindle project.
So that’s the trick, really, to overcoming any type of painful emotion. Let yourself feel as shitty as you feel. Don’t go into denial, don’t ignore your pain. Give it space to process, but don’t spin the story out. It is what it is. Dont’ make it worse by embellishing the bare facts of the story. Of course, after the pain has passed and a cooler head prevails, it’s good to take a look at what you can gain from the experience.
I learned that I need to step up my synopsis game. For every big action, I need to elucidate the motivation behind it. I’m also really happy that I can continue work on Sugar Shack and that it will soon be published. Plus there’s the very cool news that I’ll be writing a new story this summer instead of having to dive back into Luke’s #1 Rule so soon.