Thursday, March 22, 2007

With a Little Help From My Friends

A few days ago a very dear friend received a crushing rejection. Several days earlier another close friend received a lousy review. My crushing rejection came a few weeks ago. I’m over it -- or as over it as any writer can ever be, which is to say I’m really not over it at all, but I’m dealing with it by trying not to think about it (much) and moving on.

With LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION due out in less than 10 weeks, I’m bracing myself for the reviews that will start coming in soon. I’m not na├»ve enough to think everyone will love my sophomore effort. Why should they? Taste is subjective. I’ve tossed aside books after a chapter or two that other people have raved about, that reviewers have given high praise to, that have made “the lists.”

And I’ve loved other books that have received poor reviews and made no lists.

No matter how many people love a book, there are always others who don’t. As a writer I know that there will always be someone ready and willing to rain on my Happy Parade, rejecting my manuscript or proclaiming to the world via Amazon or cyber-review sites or in the print media that my darling, that precious newborn I labored so hard to produce, is a butt-ugly spawn of the devil. Yet no matter how pragmatic I try to be, it doesn’t make the rejection or the bad review any easier to take.

Which brings me back to my two friends because this is what I told them: Not every editor is going to fall in love with your next book, and you’re never going to please every reviewer. It didn’t make either of them feel any better. I didn’t expect it to, but still we say these words to each other because that’s what friends do at times like this. We also first rail about how unfair life is and how so-and-so wouldn’t know a good book if it bit her in the behind. Then we offer a shoulder, never-ending margaritas, and heaps of chocolate -- not necessarily in that order. We do this for each other because we’ve all been there and will undoubtedly be there again. We, more than anyone else, understand the pain of rejection and scathing reviews.

And that’s something that I’m very thankful for, today and every day. I’m thankful for a community of friends who understands the fragility of an author’s ego. No matter how supportive our spouses, non-writer friends, and relatives might be (for those lucky enough to have supportive spouses, non-writer friends, and relatives), they really don’t and never will ‘get it.’ Only another writer can understand the emotional roller coaster of being a writer.

So today on Thankful Thursday I raise my margarita class and pass the cyber-chocolates to my fellow writers. Thank you for being there for me!

1 comment:

Nancy Morse said...

I don't think authors' egos are any more fragile than anyone else's. I know people who aren't writers and whose egos are as fragile as glass. I also know people whose egos are as tough as nails in spite of repeated rejections (not from editors, but from life). We're all human, and all humans need the same thing - to be loved and appreciated. As writers/authors, we take it personally when someone doesn't like our book. But remember, it's not us they don't like, it's just the book, and hopefully, the books we write are just one part of who we are. If we put our whole lives into our books and can sum up our existence by them, then we're living very narrow lives. Sure, rejection sucks, but I don't know anyone who can get through life without experiencing it. I would add rejection to death and taxes as the only things you can't avoid.