The Anatomy of Rejection

I touched on this briefly last post.  It’s not that I get my feelings hurt when I receive a reject on my labor of love (my novel).

It’s this:  I want something so bad and I hold so many expectations and hopes that when I do get rejected, it’s not personal or a reflection of me.  It doesn’t hurt my ego or anything.  It’s a deflation of my dreams and expectations and the knowledge that there is still plenty of work to do.  It also is a lesson in patience (not my strong point by any means).  I have to wait longer to see my book in print, to see my dreams materialize, to hold my work in my hands and watch others enjoy what I’ve created.

I want it now is what it comes down to and a rejection signals, “Nope, not now but later.”

I know that my novel is good.  I know in my heart it is God’s work and it is meant to be shared to help others cope in this world.  I know that.  It’s just frustrating when I can’t seem to get that across to others.

No one said this was easy or life was easy.  What fun would that be?

I pray I get an agent soon.  I pray I get a publisher soon.  I pray my husband gets a job soon.  I pray we move to where I want to live and not to some hole-in-the-earth place where a job happens to be.  I pray my kids get accepted to schools where I can feel comfortable sending them to, where I won’t have to homeschool them the rest of their lives, where they can have friends and the whole school experience.  I pray these burdens on my heart are lifted.

I miss my old town.  I miss my old church.  I miss my friends.  My kids miss their friends.  Hell, I even miss my old house.

Do the trials of life ever end?

The Resilience of the Human Psyche

It’s amazing the resilience of the human psyche, isn’t it?  One moment, you’re down.  The next your back in the game.

I keep getting reject after reject for my queries so what do I do?  I keep editing my query letter, editing my novel, and researching agents and mailing off more queries.  Yeah, I get down when a reject lands in my inbox.  But I’m learning to think, “That agent is just not for me.”

As I research and research literary agents, there are HUNDREDS out there!  I didn’t realize there were that many!  Out of these hundreds, one has to love my work, right?  Or does it just suck?

Sure, there are good agents and bad and one must be careful.  But with research and guidance from God, I’ll find one, I’m sure.

This is my third work so surely I have it down by now, right?

I’d love to hear how you cope with rejects.

Excitement, Once Again, Reigns

Well, I’ve re-vamped my query letter to make it shorter and much more compelling.  I’ve cut 10,000 word from my novel (the part that I thought didn’t flow very well at all from the very beginning) and now, I believe, my novel is the best I can make it.  Now, whether a professional editor can make it better remains to be seen.  However, I am extremely excited about this development and can’t wait to polish things up and get back on track.

I hope and pray this is it–this is the one after so much hard work put in that will finally garner some attention.  If there is a God in heaven, then this will succeed.

Words of Comfort

Just when I’m feeling sad and questioning what I’m doing with my life and even if all my work is worthwhile, I open the Bible and God speaks to me.

“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?”  Isaiah 55:2

The Bible further goes on and says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found” verse 6 and those who “have no money, come” verse 1.

This comforts me as I know my writing satisfies me (and God) even though right now it satisfies no one else.  It’s encouraging to know in these tough times that there is hope and a future as I’m bogged down in the mire of the present.

“Your ways are not my ways,” verse 8.  This is true but sometimes I wish they were my ways.  His ways tend to be too hard.

Dreams

I usually don’t have vivid dreams, but I woke up this morning with one.  As a writer, all of my novel ideas have been from my dreams (ultimately from God in my opinion) and this one was intriguing.  I immediately wrote it down because the conversation was so alive and breathing.  I don’t see how it will fit into a story but maybe one day.

As I’ve been researching literary agents to submit to, I’m discovering ones I’ve never discovered before.  This is because I’ve wrote a young adult (YA) novel instead of one for adults.  I didn’t realize how many agents out there focus exclusively on kids works.  I find this fact great.  I love helping my kids pick out books at the bookstore and now I know why there are so many fabulous ones on the shelves.  Thanks to all the agents out there who recognize talent and work so feverishly to bring it to the world.

Now if only one of these esteemed literary agents would bring my talent to the world!

Home School Update

I had promised an update on homeschooling so here it is.

Homeschooling is really about finding what works for you which is really a bunch of guessing.  No one can tell you what curriculum is the best or how to even do it.  Basically, you just start–plain and simple.  You sit down one day and begin.

I had mentioned I was doing the Riggs method of learning to read and I have to say IT IS THE BEST!  My daughter can now sound out most words with minimal help and can read books by herself and it’s only been 2 1/2 months!  I broke down and bought the Riggs Institute’s “Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking” Teacher’s Edition Level 1 and it’s the best purchase I’ve made.  It uses dictation which teaches the kids how to think as well as Socratic principles (which I love).  With this foundation, my kids will be able to easily take it to the next level.

I also love the Core Knowledge sequence developed by E.D. Hirsch.  We are currently on “What Your First Grader Needs to Know” after completing “What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know” in just two months.  Our school in Fort Collins was Core Knowledge and I loved it.  It has great stories and provides me with a guideline of what other kids are learning so I don’t forget anything.

We also have a daily reading lesson which I think complements Riggs perfectly.  It’s “The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading” by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington.  It’s from “The Well-Trained Mind”, a classical education guide by Susan Wise Bauer and her mother, Jessie Wise.  It’s easy to follow and my daughter loves the stories which are carefully crafted to use lesson words.

We spend at least an hour every day reading, be it history, geography, science, math, art, music, or plain old good stories and my kids love this time the best!  I can cater to what they like and they get excited about it.  We visit the library once a week where we supplement our teachings with cool books.

My methods are hodge-podge to say it best.  I love Classical Education as I believe the ancients have a lot to teach us and will continue to use their methods.  I pick texts that I like and that I think the kids will learn from the most and I just do it.

My daughter told me yesterday that my school is not as fun as her old school.  Let me tell you why:  we don’t fill time with meaningless projects.  We don’t make a lot of drawings.  We don’t do as many art works.  There is no time to sit and stare at the other kids and wait around for everyone to finish.  Once school begins, we’re on go mode and there is little time wasted.  It’s 3 or 4 hours straight of work.  I can honestly tell you my daughter knows more than most kindergartners right now just from the 2 months I’ve been working with her.  Kids this age are sponges and will soak up whatever fed them.

Will I continue to homeschool?  That is still up in the air.  As long as I’m doing what’s in my kids’ best interest and everyone is happy, I’m content.  I hope this helps.

Reading the Bible Again

So, I went to church last Sunday and they emphasized three things, one of which was daily time with God.  So, I thought I’d pick up my Bible again and start reading where I had left off.

It’s amazing how God speaks to your heart when you’re open and ready.  I’m in the book of Isaiah, chapter 49.  These words jumped out at me from different verses:

“Before I was born the Lord called me…what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God….I will not forget you!…those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”

These are the exact words I needed to hear.  As Christians, I think we all need to know that God is with us, He sees us and all we are going through, He hasn’t forgotten us, and there is hope when we can’t see it.

There’s a Christian song that just came out that so speaks to my heart right now.  It’s called, “The Words I Would Say” by the Sidewalk Prophets.  The words that keep repeating over and over in my mind are:

“Be strong in the Lord and never give up hope,
You’re gonna do great things, I already know,
God’s got his hands on you, so don’t live life in fear,
Forgive and forget but don’t forget why you’re here,
Take your time and pray.”

I think of this song a lot, especially when those rejections keep cropping up in my inbox.  I’m reminded to keep working, keep striving and God will do the rest.  That’s all we can really do anyways.  Pray, Ask, Receive, and keep on living.

Need Some Writing Advice

So, I’ve spent the last two days holed up in my room finishing the third draft of my novel.  I added a great motivation for one character as a result.

However, I also began to wonder if I shouldn’t change my ending.  If I did, I would cut out the last two chapters (essentially 5000 words), resulting in I think a better cliff hanger.  But my qualms:  5000 words is a lot when my novel is only 65,000.  It would take it down to 60,000 words, which I think is very low.  Does anyone out there have any advice for me on this point?

To recap:  it’s a young adult novel and I’ve read that they are supposed to be between 50,000 and 70,000 words so I’m right in there.  I am just unsure.

Thanks for any advice out there!