- a romantic interest is unrequited
- a job or promotion goes to someone else
- a family member writes you off
- friends disappear
- and yes...a book you pour your soul into doesn't get picked up
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was when I was a child and my grandmother told me that not everyone is going to like you. Some people will simply despise you for no fault of your own. And others will love you.
At the time, those words struck me like bullets. I mean who doesn't want to be universally loved?
But as I got older, proof of her words struck me just as hard... I was not popular in school. I have had people take one look at me and simply not like me on sight. I've had jobs go to others and I've had dear friends fade away with no explanation, including one whose life I saved with a Heimlich maneuver. An entire branch of my family doesn't speak to me. And yes, I've had a book (more than 1) not sell.
How do you deal? How do you cope? How do you move on?
For me, the secret is to Act As If.
I allow myself to feel the sting. And it always stings.
(Especially that friend I mentioned who almost died.) But then, I force myself to move on.
In 2015, I finaled in RWA's Rita Award contest with Some Boys. I signed a new 2-book deal and was supposed to write a new family-drama series called Nothing Left. Book 1 was Nothing Left to Burn. Book 2 was Nothing Left to Lose. Book 3 was Nothing Left to Say.
I happily wrote Burn, a novel about teen volunteer firefighters. It um...well, it crashed and burned. It did so badly, Lose was outright rejected by the publisher, even though I wrote the whole thing. Lose was about teen race car drivers.
Both of these stories remain among my favorites.
And poor Say got retitled as The Way It Hurts, my rock and roll release from last summer.
Before that, I'd pitched and written book 1 in a horror trilogy that my agent said "Nope. Not selling right now. Shelve it."
Those 3 books are 250,000 words I sweated and lost sleep over. Does it hurt? You bet it hurts. After my pity party, I FORCE myself to start the next project, or hang with the people who DO like and/or love me. I act as if nothing's wrong, that I'm not the Worst Person / Writer/ Friend in the World.
Oddly enough, it works. I manage to feel better. In fact, it hasn't failed me yet.