It’s nice remembering the things that helped me through my pre-published days. I am surprised to find that some of these things can help me now during my midwinter slump.
1. I loved my story. It never felt like a job when I was writing my first (still unpublished) book. I looked forward to getting together with my characters and writing their story.
2. I totally believed it was just a matter of time. Call it naivety, inexperience, ignorance, or all of the above; I believed I would be published. I saw myself published.
3. I saw something positive in every rejection. Even if the editor or agent didn’t say anything nice I tried to turn it into something positive. For instance, if I got a rejection with a comment, I said either, “I can see what they mean. I’ll consider that.” But more importantly, if the rejection was a form letter, or had a nasty comment which one did, I said “Oh, well” and moved on to the next query, the next course, or the current WIP.
4. I believed in the experts. Speaking of courses, I don’t think I’d be published if I didn’t look to those who have gone before me for advice and knowledge. I went to the workshops, read good books, and I took a few really good courses. I don’t have a masters in fine arts, but I know the value of education and I still have a lot to learn.
5. I didn’t take no for an answer. When an editor showed interest, I stuck to her like glue. She initially liked my story and then decided to pass on it, but I loved what she had said in her notes. She made sense and I couldn’t–wouldn’t let her go without trying to learn more. We began a dialogue and she eventually agreed to read my story again after some revisions. If I’d been insulted or angry about the initial rejection I wouldn’t have gotten published with that house.