Friday, January 11, 2013

Grateful for Rejection--Jan Blazanin


 Writing is empowering. I rearrange the universe to my liking. Houses, schools, entire cities grow from my imagination. Skunks ride in strollers, pigs run rampant in high schools, a beauty queen rethinks her priorities. My protagonists conquer their fears and grow braver and stronger. They banter with guys in ways I never could as a teen.

Writing is also humbling. Seven YA manuscripts piled up rejections before Fairest of Them All was published in 2009. Those seven stories were thoughtfully plotted, written, rewritten, re-rewritten, and proofread with fanatical care. I read stacks of books, studied manuscript formatting and market guides, targeted my submissions. And fell flat on my face
.
The most frustrating part of those failures was the mystery. “Your manuscript isn’t right for our list.”  Why isn’t it right? What should I do now?

That changed when Rosemary Stimola became my agent in 2005. (Eternally grateful for her!) The rejections still arrived, but now they came with a “why.” I no longer had to call on my pitiful psychic powers to figure out what editors wanted. Not that they all criticized the same thing, but it was rejection with a direction.

Sharelle, Me, Rebecca, and Eileen
Early in 2012 I finished a YA I’d been working on for two years. After my writing group (Sharelle Byars Moranville, Eileen Boggess, and Rebecca Janni—Heaps of eternal gratitude!) gave me their input, I sent the manuscript to Rosemary.

And got it back. Rosemary and her assistant Allison Recheck (Who’s been added to my eternally grateful list!) had issues with the story. Lots of issues requiring lots and lots of rewriting. 

Disappointing. Overwhelming. Frustrating. Absolutely necessary. Made me stretch as a writer. Tap into my creativity. And write a stronger, punchier, more compelling story.

Am I a fan of rejection? Definitely not. But rejection has helped me grow into a better writer. And that’s a reason to be grateful.



Think how grateful you’ll be if you win one of the fabulous Bundles-O-Prizes in our January giveaway! Sign up by clicking on the link at the top of the sidebar. Good luck!





7 comments:

  1. LOVE! Thank you for this post. I needed it today. (and Rosemary Stimola-wow!) Now I am going to put FAIREST OF THEM ALL on my kindle, and get back to writing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a great post. My experience mirrors yours and it's nice to know there are other slow-and-steady-wins-the-race writers out there!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post. As a fledgling writer, it is hard to view the rejections as "learning experiences" but that is exactly what they are!

    ReplyDelete
  4. My gratitude to you. This came at just the right time, as I'm re-writing and frustrated with it. But it is an opportunity to grow as a writer and get better. I needed that reminder. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  5. YES! Rejection definitely makes us so much better...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, everyone. May all our rejections be followed by resounding successes!

    ReplyDelete