Matisse said creativity takes courage. He was speaking of placing colors, but this is more than true of placing words on a page or screen.
I belonged to a critique group a few years back. We met in a local Borders book store, that’s how long ago it was, and one night one of our casual members, Mitch, brought his friend, a lovely older woman who was losing her sight to the group.
Mitch gave us some of her work to read, which were written in an essay form from the point of view of Violet, a fictional, delightful, eccentric older woman. She had written these, a great number of them, when she was younger.
They were wonderful.
And she had never submitted them for publication.
She was afraid – not of rejection, but that someone would steal the character. She said someone in the advertising business had told her years ago to be very careful with Violet.
And she was. I don’t think she ever sent it anywhere.
Another member of our group thought she would self-publish her children’s books because she didn’t want to face rejection.
Rejection simply sucks.
Whether you are pitching to agent face-to-face, getting e-rejections, or never receiving anything back at all from an agent or editor you’ve submitted to, it’s disheartening, to say the least. And it can make you scared to keep trying, or simply want to give up.
I nearly did.
I asked a member of the local chapter of my Romance Writers of America group, who writes as Anne Lawson, “When do you decide that it’s just not working?”
She begged me not to give up and to submit to her publisher.
I did and I have eight novellas under contract with them.
Still, I face rejection. And it sucks.
Another member of my RWA chapter, who has ten books published (or soon to be) with Harlequin, and praise for her one of her books in her suspense series from author R.L. Stine, said she got over 100 rejections before she got published.
But only if you let your work see the light of day.
And with that may come rejection.
But I think of Violet who languished in file cabinets for years. I so hope that lovely lady got past the fear of someone stealing the delightful character she created and submitted it for publication, or published it herself to great acclaim, as it deserved.
And quirky Violet gives me courage to keep writing and sending things out.