On Rejection and Scar Tissue

Even though the days of getting mail addressed to us in our own handwriting are (mostly) behind us, we’re all familiar with that sinking feeling.  I was at a point not so long ago where I would open the RE: QUERY email from an agent last (sometimes even after ads for extending body parts I don’t have) simply to delay the pain.  Heave the big sigh, record another rejection over at QueryTracker -where my stats were starting to depress even my dog – and delete the form rejection.  Chin up.  Move on.

That vast gulf of darkness was punctuated by little flares of brightness – a partial here, a full there, long periods of waiting while one or two hopes floated – but mostly, BLURG!  So I trunked it – take that vile ms!!  Sit under my bed, you disappointing sheaf of paper!  I ripped off a new YA ms, wrote a query that felt electric (with the assistance of my AgentQuery beta reviewers) and started opening those RE: QUERY emails first – ’cause they were making me happy.

I recently finished reading Women Who Run With the Wolves: Contacting the Power of the Wild Woman by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and want to share this excellent quote:

“Although there will be scars, and plenty of them, it is good to remember that in tensile strength and ability to absorb pressure, a scar is stronger than skin.”

It’s an interesting thought, and one that buoyed me in the Dark Age of My Eternal Rejections.  It goes hand in hand with my favorite cliched bit of wisdom – “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  It might sound like a farmer’s daughter’s tough-love, toss-off advice; but the funny thing about cliches is that they’re often true.

So buck up.  Write the query.  Revise the query.  Send the query.  Get those rejections.  Revise it again.  Send it again.  And work on something new – ’cause every puncture in your writer’s skin will teach you something.

And you’ll heal.

12 thoughts on “On Rejection and Scar Tissue

  1. Good post, and I agree. It's hard, but rejection is par for the course in this business. Like you said, it's those little nibbles that keep us going. 🙂

  2. True that. It's the little victories (getting a full request, winning a contest, etc) that provide the temporary high necessary to float over all those rejections!

  3. EXCELLENT post, Mindy. BTW, are you a farmer's daughter? Because you sure are tough. 😉

    Thanks for reminding us to be the same.

  4. coffee, Jen, EEV- I recommend that book to any woman trying to muddle through daily life and do a little something for herself at the same time. Welcome aboard EEV – it should be a fun ride!

  5. This is a sort of double comment.

    1. I was playing blog-tag and found your post. I really enjoyed it. The ax-murder thing is cool, but I like chivalrous English men better. And I can really relate to being a day early for a party 😉

    2. As I was exploring your blog, I came across this post. Wow. It is just the kick in the pants I need.My toughness level erodes imperceptibly after each rejection. Yesterday I woke up “toughness depleted”.

    Now I will take a deep breath, send out one more query and open that long forgotten WIP file.


  6. Dawn – thanks for posting! I'm glad I could help – and I know your pain. I did rejections for a solid decade before getting my “yes,” so I feel you. Keep crackin' – it's good for you!

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