Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Jenna Da Sie’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!
This week’s topic comes from author Leslie Hachtel – and we’re talking rejection letters (boo!!)
When I saw this topic I jumped at the chance to answer it. It coincided with going out to lunch with a lovely group of writers from my local RNA chapter where we talked about writing for magazines in the old days. I’d completely forgotten about this stage in my writing career (blame old age) but boy did it bring back memories. At that time I was working around the clock (it was in my pre-mummy days) and dashing home every evening to write short stories on a very old, clunky laptop which sounded as if it had little men inside, stoking the engines.
This was back in the days when the internet was a wild west frontier, and companies put you on a training course to work out how to use it. Dial up connections at home were rare, and broadband just a dream. On the plus side, I seemed to have a lot more time on my hands back then.
Anyway, so back to rejections. As I said, I wrote a lot of short stories back then, which I submitted to magazines. They were well-paid gigs, around £350 for 1500 words, which wasn’t something to sniff at. So I wrote, I printed, and I sent off sheafs of paper (pre-internet, remember?), and waited for an offer letter to come back through the door.
Instead, what I got was these:
A few of my rejection letters, ’90s style!
So these were my first rejection letters. And thank goodness they came, because I re-read some of those short stories yesterday and they were truly terrible. They’ve been filed away in a box under my bed for the last seventeen years, and that’s where they’ll be staying!
I can laugh about it now, of course, because time is happiness’ friend, and it can give you a perspective like no other. But the first time I got a rejection letter it really hurt. I think it’s because I had been writing alone for so long, I thought I was really good. I thought I was going to take the world by storm. These are pretty much the same feelings I always get whenever I launch a new book. This time, everybody’s going to see inside to my real genius.
And yeah, that feeling usually lasts for five minutes, until I double over and laugh at myself uproariously. But that’s the thing about writing. You put yourself out there for rejection over and over again, in small hope that somebody — anybody — might find something they like about your words. It doesn’t have to be a lot of people, it doesn’t have to be an agent or publisher, you just want your story to touch somebody’s heart. And when they do, it’s as though all your Christmases have come at once, and it spurs you on to write more.
So I’m happy to keep on getting the rejection letters (or emails are they more often are nowadays), because the communication I can’t live without is from my readers. A Facebook message, a comment on an Instagram post, or like yesterday, a tweet where somebody says they loved my book. These are the things that make my day.