by Chloe Blaque, guest blogger
“Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately…” is usually how the letter of doom starts. It’s a nice enough email filled with encouragement to keep submitting your work, but it’s really just a polite rejection. And I have an inbox full of them. I’m a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. I write, submit, and wait for the verdict. That’s how it goes.
When I was pitching and submitting my debut romance novel SURVIVAL OF THE FIERCEST, my emails blew up with “thanks but no thanks” responses. Some of the feedback was nice; respectful of a writer’s potential to take that advice and make the novel better. Other feedback…not so much. In an effort to not feel like a loser, I printed out the letters with constructive feedback and posted them on my wall. I read somewhere that this would be a way to embrace the writers’ process. I did embrace it. And it helped a little.
OK, no. It didn’t.
No one wants to be rejected. And that closed door is even harder to take when you are new to the game, fighting for your first essay or manuscript. I banged on that door until my hand hurt. My inner voice became a mean girl: You suck. You can’t write. You’ll never get published. I bet this never happened to Joan Didion.
After a lot of work, I finally did get published, but not until I had scraped pieces of my soul from the ground.
It was hard not to focus on the possibility of rejection when I submitted my second manuscript to my publisher. So many things hung on the balance; my career as a writer, my self-esteem, my sanity. But I found solace in the oddest of places.
Around the same time that I had submitted my second book, the Sony email hack happened. Gawker.com reported almost daily on the leak. Amid emails calling Angelina Jolie a brat and comments on Michael Fassbender’s penis, came an erratic and stunningly candid rant about an upcoming movie penned by Cameron Crowe. The email is from Amy Pascal, Chairwoman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, to an internal colleague.
Yes, you read correctly. Amy Pascal called Cameron Crowe’s script ridiculous. If you loved Singles and Almost Famous (AF won an Oscar for best original screenplay in 2011) as much as I did, your heart just stopped.
Oddly after reading this, a weight lifted from me. Cameron Crowe has to go through this shit too.
After a quick Google search, I noticed that Crowe’s movie is scheduled for production. Which told me that he did what we all do when we get rejections. Edit, re-write, restructure, re-submit. Basically, fix the damn thing. It felt kinda good to know that Mr. Crowe still needs to work for it…like me. Like all of us.
And there in lies the beauty of rejection. It’s a part of the writing process that makes us take a second look at ourselves. We go back to the drawing board and come out sleeker, better, and stronger. And no one, not even an Oscar winner, is immune to or excluded from the possibility of rejection.
I am a writer. This is how it goes. And with that, I can take comfort.
Chloe Blaque is the author of SURVIVAL OF THE FIERCEST, a contemporary erotic romance novel published by Loose-id available on Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Nobel. Her forthcoming and currently untitled second novel will be published by Loose-id mid-2015. Check her out at www.chloeblaque.com. Twitter: @chloeblaque. Facebook: Chloeblaque