Monday, October 26, 2009

Guest Blogger Laurie Alice Eakes: Turning Rejection into Acceptance

Despite the title, I don’t have a definitive answer on how to turn rejection letters into acceptance phone calls. What I have are words of wisdom from other authors’ input and from my own experience on how we can learn, grow, and be blessed by rejections.

Rejection is a part of writers' lives. It comes in many forms. All are disheartening. Even the ones that are complimentary can hurt because they still mean you didn’t make a sale.

Author Linore Burkard put my thoughts on rejection succinctly. “Rejection is a stop sign from God.” At a stop sign, you look both ways before moving on. You look ahead. You may even look behind to ensure the next car that comes along isn’t going to zip past and smash into you, as you make a left turn.

And making a left turn is often what you need to do. Nonfiction author Theresa Cooke wrote an essay on a controversial subject for an anthology. The anthology rejected it. Theresa ended up selling it as an article. Kim Vogel Sawyer submitted an anthology collection with other authors. The editor rejected the concept. Kim took that same idea for four short stories, consolidated them into a novel, and sold it.

Since this is a Barbour blog, I’ll talk about my experience with Heartsong. My story got rejected at first, and it hurt. It also taught me a great deal about writing. That rejection forced me to sit down and really learn my market, then completely revamp and rewrite my story—and sell it to JoAnne six months later, as Better than Gold.

So next time a rejection appears in your mailbox or inbox, step back and ask yourself why God has brought you to this stop sign. Perhaps you have the wrong market. Perhaps you need to improve your craft. Perhaps you need to develop a teachable heart. Whatever the reason, turn that rejection into an acceptance that this is a message from the Lord regarding your writing and when He determines you’re ready, your work will find acceptance.

As a footnote, this is the perfect week for me to be a guest here. Wednesday will mark the one-year anniversary of the phone call I got from my agent regarding the New Jersey Historical Series for Heartsong. This acceptance ended twenty months of rejections. The fun fact is that I was in New Jersey at the time. Even more fun, my hero in The Glassblower is a Scot named Colin. In my class I was taking up there, was a Scottish man named Colin. Colin sent me MP3s of him talking so I could get the cadence of speech right without resorting to hard-to-read dialect.

The Glassblower by Laurie Alice Eakes releases through Heartsong Presents in November.


Kathy Cretsinger/Katt Anderson said...

Very good thoughts, Laurie Alice. I have learned that I was not ready when I sent my first proposal in. The rejection hurt, but I worked harder. It's just like praying. God answers us with a "Yes," a "No," or a "Wait a while." I took the rejection as a, "Not yet, babe, but keep going."

CHickey said...

Thank you for the encouraging words, Laurie.

Anonymous said...

Great post.

Erica Vetsch said...

Well said, Laurie. A rejection is a chance to re-evaluate and learn, though at the time it can be difficult to remember that!

CatMom said...

Thanks for sharing these encouraging thoughts. I realize now how much I still needed to learn (and of course am STILL learning!) after my first two proposals were rejected. But now I'm much more serious about my writing, and enjoying it more too! The Lord was teaching me through those rejections. Blessings,
Patti Jo

Mary Connealy said...

I like the idea. A stop sign. But not a stop forever sign. Just stop, look both ways, and then proceed, always keep going.

Lisa Buffaloe said...

Great perspective! Rejection is only a stepping stone to whatever God has planned next.

Lisa Faye Harman said...

Thank you for these words of wisdom. I loved the visual of the stop sign.

Anonymous said...

"....step back and ask why God has brought you to this stop sign."

Thanks, Laurie. I really needed to read that today. God's timeline is different from ours and His timing is always the best. I am looking forward to reading your book!

Pepper Basham said...

Laurie Alice,

What a wonderful concept of the 'stop sign'. It really does give one a different perspective on rejection.

Congrats on your 'phone call' and thank you for the encouraging words. I think the most important part of the stop sign analogy is 'moving on' instead of not going anywhere. Even if the moving on is backwards to relearn and study.

Thanks again,