I just ran a "Become an Agent" query contest where contestants vote Yes or No on each other's queries. And, as was obvious, there were a lot of No's.
This rejection is so prominent in writers -- as is the sadness afterwards.
Let me tell you a story.
I did a query contest similar to this one on the Authoress's blog about a year ago. And, I got about 40 No's and only about five Yes's.
I was so sure that query was going to be the one, that I'd get a lot of Yes's and little/no No's. I was so sure. I had worked on that query so, so hard and I thought it would all pay off.
But it didn't. My query sucked.
But you know what? I'm happy I got those No's. What if I actually queried with that mess of a query? Ignorance is NOT bliss in the publication game we are in. We need to be as informed as possible about all steps of publication, including the quality of our own writing. Especially about the quality of our own writing.
Sure, it's easy to be discouraged after all the No's. In fact, it's normal to be discouraged. To want to call it quits. To want to give up.
But you know what? Go ahead. Give up. Seriously, there is nothing, nothing wrong with realizing writing is not for you. So try it. Give up.
And those who are truly writers, deep down; you'll come back in a little while. And you'll write again. And you'll hate it. But you'll need it. And you'll soon love it.
Take this all less seriously. I've always thought we make too big deal about our writing. We're not performing surgery, making life-or-death decisions. We get torn apart by constructive criticism and almost succumb to depression if we get a bad critique. But we're writing. We're doing something we love. We're improving something we love. And we are having fun.
Next time you get a bad critique, laugh at yourself at making that oh-so-obvious plot hole. Shake your head, smiling, as you start to edit. For most of us, there is no time limit to get our books in order. So why get frustrated if a critique sets you back? (I, way too often, try to rush my way through. I'm trying to stop that.)
Let's all make a conscious decision to take our writing less seriously. To see our books as our children (I read this somewhere, forgot where). We'll love them, but force them to improve. And we'll love to see them grow, no matter how long or how many lessons it takes.
How do you guys like the contest so far? I'm on the outside looking in, so I can't tell how you feel about it! Is it helpful?
You have all of Saturday to get your critiques in :)Winner (the one with the most Yes's) will be posted Monday!