One Step Forward

Howdy, howdy!  Yesterday, after numerous rejections from agents (all of which were form rejections or close to it), I received my first full manuscript request.  I won’t say from where or who, because I understand that this is by no means an offer of representation, but it’s one step closer and that makes me super excited.  Even if I end up with a rejection at the end of this, at least I can say someone who is a complete stranger to me was interested in my work, which is a huge deal since I always wonder if people are only supportive of me because I’m cripple (it’s happened before).  Anyway, I’m getting off track.  Today, I want to talk about how the little steps are just as exciting and deserving of celebration as the ultimate goal you’re working towards.

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Kitty has the right idea.  One step at a time.

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I honestly needed a reminder of it myself: the little successes are still successes.  I admit that I’ve been down lately with all of the rejections.  I let the feelings of being a failure and an imposter get to me.  It’s made writing hard and submitting things less than appealing.  I forgot that submitting things and writing words were little steps on the writing journey in their own right, whether they end well or not.   With all of the rejection writers (and artists of all kinds) face on a daily basis, we have to remember to celebrate the little things as well as the endgame.

Did you finish that short story or chapter today?  Treat yourself!  Is that your tenth (or hundredth) form rejection?  Take pride in the fact that you submitted that many times.  Did you get a lovely personal rejection?  That deserves a toast!  Without all of these little steps, some of which feel more like stumbles, we wouldn’t be moving forward.  And as long as we’re pushing on, we’re trying, and that’s all that matters.

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This applies to life way more than it should.

Sometimes, we go so far down the rabbit hole of imposter syndrome that we need a hand getting back to a point where we can see the little steps.  This boost could come as a surprise acceptance or a request for more, but more often than not, it comes from the support of people in the same situation.  We aren’t alone in these feelings.  If you can’t celebrate your own steps forward, help someone else to celebrate theirs.  Most of the time, it’s easier to notice other people’s achievements, so you’ll cheer them on and tell them that rejection is just one step closer to an acceptance, then eventually you’ll realize these are the things you should also be celebrating for yourself.  Help each other and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.  Celebrate your successes together!

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Support each other like these puppies support this baby!

So yeah, even though it’s easy to get distracted by the big endgame, don’t forget the little things that get you there.  It might take longer than you want, but if you stop trying, you’ll definitely never get to where you want to end up.  Keep moving forward.  Keep supporting each other.  But most importantly, keep celebrating all the little steps as well as the leaps and bounds.

Form Rejections

Hello, hello!  Last Thursday, I sent out a few of the queries I was talking about in my last post.  Friday morning, I woke up to a form rejection from one of the companies that declare a no from one agent is a no from all of them.  They didn’t even take the time to personalize it with my name or the title of my “material,”  and the signature wasn’t from the agent I addressed my query to, but instead from an associate agent.  It had been sent at 8:04 in the morning.  I thought my first agent rejection would be devastating, that it would be so much harder to take than all of the other writerly rejections I’ve received.  I was wrong.  A form rejection that basic was pretty much the best first agent rejection I could have asked for.

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Cute animal memes help.

First, I suppose I should explain what a form rejection is for people who might not be sure.  It’s basically a vague letter turning you down.  Most of the ones I’ve gotten have an “it’s not you, it’s us” vibe.  They start with a firm no, usually followed up by explaining that your story doesn’t mesh with what they’re looking for, and ending with something along the lines of “feel free to submit to us in the future.”  Most of them are polite enough to include your name and the title of your story, at least in the realm of magazine/ezine rejections (not sure about agent rejections yet).

What do form rejections mean to me?  Honestly, they tend to be an indication that my story didn’t even make it out of the slush pile, that it probably didn’t even make it to human eyes (and I might be entirely wrong, but it’s what I like to think).  The places I submit to get hundreds of submissions a week.  There’s no way they can read each piece and give them the attention they deserve.  Slush readers weed through the ever-expanding piles and do their best to pick pieces the editors will enjoy or grab names that will bring in more readers.  I’m guessing a similar process occurs in the agencies.  I might not appreciate the whole process, but I understand it.  As writers, rejection is a part of the game and we can’t question each one we get.

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Okay, but only for a little while, then back to work.

So, yeah.  A barebones form rejection from an associate agent was exactly the kind of rejection I needed.  It doesn’t mean that Garnets and Guardians is unwanted trash.  It doesn’t reflect on my writing in any way.  It simply means the agency wasn’t hooked by my query, if they even read it at all.  And that’s okay.  I’m more worried about when the rejections get personal, because then I’ll know it’s my fault.  I might start getting really discouraged at that point.  Until then, I’ll just keep writing and submitting and collecting my rejections.  That’s all I can do.

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Don’t let the rejections get you down!

How do you feel about form rejections?  If they get you down, do you have any kind of ritual to help improve your mood again?  Feel free to share any thoughts, stories, questions, or whatever here or on my social media pages!

All Dogs Go To Heaven

Hey, all!  I don’t feel much like writing a big post right now.  We had to put our last puppers down yesterday (or today as I’m writing this).  He was pretty old for a chihuahua (15 or 16), and he was really sick, so we had to make the choice.  Instead of the usual post, I think I’ll just spam you with pictures of some of our old puppers.

That’s Chewy.  He’s the one we just put down.  Mom rescued him back in 2002 or so and he was with us ever since.  He liked to pee on people and cuddle and would run around bumping into things because he was blind.  He was the baby of the family.

This was Dame Julia of Mesquite.  She was my Jujubee.  We had to put her down back in 2014 and she was around 13 or 14 and she was really sick.  She was my protector.  Whenever she was in lap, you couldn’t come near me without getting nipped at.  I fully admit she was rotten and spoiled.

Toto!  She was my sister’s dog that she got from one of Dad’s jobs.  She was put down in 2011, but I’m not sure how old she was (at least 13 or so).  Her snaggle-teeth weren’t helped by the fact that she liked to attack socks and wouldn’t let go even after you lifted her off the ground.  She was the sweetheart.

This was Speedy.  He was the first dog that was supposed to be mine, but he got too big to sit in my lap.  We got him in 1993 from one of Dad’s jobs and he stayed with us until 2010 when he had to be put down.  He was Dad’s pup once he crawled up behind Dad’s neck and watched TV with him.  He would sing and bounce around and was generally the sweet, loving old man.

We had plenty of other dogs before these four, including Schnapps and Michelob.  I don’t remember a time in my life when there wasn’t at least one dog around.  It’s a weird feeling.  That’s all I really feel like saying this week.  I’ll be in better spirits next week.  See you then!

How To Survive The First Few Days After An Election

Hello, hello!  By the time this post gets published, America will have a new president (or at least be in the final stages of deciding).  If you’re anything like me, you didn’t like any of the candidates and you’re beyond tired of hearing about them and seeing their faces splashed all over your social media sites.  But today, and for the foreseeable future, you’ll only have to deal with one of them.  That means for the rest of the week (until something else distracts everyone), your social media will be full of the winner’s supporters bragging and the loser’s supporters complaining (because there’s no such thing as a graceful win or loss in this election).  So, how are we, the ones with nothing important to say on the matter, supposed to survive until the next big thing comes along to distract everyone?  Here are three handy tips to help you keep your sanity.

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That’s what I’ve been struggling with myself.

 1. Snuggle up with Netflix or your DVR/TiVo or a book, etc.  I’m not going to tell you to avoid social media altogether, but make sure you temper your exposure with healthy doses of entertainment.  Netflix has the advantage of avoiding all things annoying simply by clicking play.  Or just read a book if you prefer something besides screen time.  If you want to watch TV or the news, do yourself a favor and record it, that way you can skip through the things you want to avoid while keeping up with everything else.  You can do the same with a newspaper or magazine.  There are ways to stay informed without being over-exposed to certain things.

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Watch another episode!  Don’t be a quitter.

 2. Do all the things!  You know that stuff you’re supposed to be doing when you’re scrolling through Facebook?  Now is the perfect time to do all of it.  Do the laundry.  Clean the kitchen.  Catch up on your NaNo writing.  You can be productive and avoid the post-election uproar all at once.  Truth be told, I’m actually avoiding the last of the pre-election voter smugness (I’m happy you’re happy you voted, don’t get me wrong, but some people take it too far when they think it makes them and their candidate of choice superior) by writing this post.

3. Surround yourself with cute animals.  There’s never a wrong time to look at cute little animals.  If you’re into cat videos, the Internet is rife with them.  Dogs are everywhere too.  You can find bats and birds and even adorable snakes.  It’s all just a search away.  Who can stay annoyed when looking at those kawaii wittle faces.  Even I get happy when faced with the cuteness of doom.

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It’s a Dapper Danger Noodle!
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Look at those big eyes!  Batties are adorable!

 I’m sure there are other ways to maintain your sanity over the next few days, but this is what I will be doing.  Do you have any plans or tips for avoiding the insanity of it all?  I suppose being a recluse is the most helpful thing during these times.  Stay safe and sane.

See you next week.