Then I did a little research, sent some queries, and experienced my first taste of rejection as a writer. Notice I said "as a writer." I mean, I'd been rejected. By some colleges, a few cute guys, a handful of graduate schools ... even the National Science Foundation (I swear, that grant idea was GENIUS). But still ... I was kinda shocked and dismayed that no one wanted to read my book.
Now, being a psychologist, I know a few tricks. And thank the sweet Lord, because I needed them to keep me sane. Over the last year, I racked up my share of rejections.
|Here is my actual analysis. Swears.|
When I work with kids, we talk about their "Sneaky Brain". That's the part of the brain that whispers nasty, unhelpful things to them. Things that make them feel scared, sad, worthless, ugly, stupid, hopeless, helpless. We call it "sneaky" because sometimes we can't even hear it talking. Or when we do, we assume it's THE TRUTH and don't even bother questioning it.
Everybody's got a sneaky brain. What's yours saying?
Below are a few possibilities, along with the most common *official, well-researched* reactions.
- That agent form R'd me. She must think I'm a total idiot. *crawls under desk and hides*
- Good writers never get turned down. That must mean I suck. *rocks back and forth*
- Another rejection ... I will never get an agent. I will never be published. Nevah. Nevah evah. *bangs head against wall a few times*
- And IF I nevah snag an agent or get published, that means I am a failure as a writer. Total. Fail. Ure. *pulls out eyelashes one by one*
- Oh no! Kathleen, Suzie, Victoria, Elana, Joanna, and Mandy all talk to each other! And I'll bet they're talking about how stupid my query was! *sips gin straight from the bottle*
- A rejection! I will read it over and over and over again, every phrase, every word, every-letter-in-every-word, and I will post about it and ask about it and think about it UNTIL I FIGURE OUT WHAT EXACTLY THAT AGENT MEANT WHEN SHE SAID MY BOOK WASN'T RIGHT FOR HER LIST!!!! *contemplates voluntary admission to a psych ward*
So. Has your sneaky brain ever said anything like that to you? No? Well. Lucky you.
If it has, rejections probably stung a little deeper, hurt a little longer, made you shed a few more tears, made you question whether you should give up, made you enjoy writing a little less for a while, made you feel sad-grumpy-snappy-crappy for a day. Or two. Maybe a week. More?
These thoughts will make you feel bad, lovies. Bad. Is it natural to have them sometimes? Sure thing. Is it hard to even detect them at times? Yep--sometimes they become automatic, and we don't even realize we're thinking them. We just feel terrible. And if they dominate your thoughts--if your Sneaky Brain is on steroids--then this writing thing is going to be a painful journey for you.
And on that note, Happy Holidays, everyone.