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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thankful for . . . Writer Rejection

Now that we have come off our pie high by now (or shopper’s high, whichever is the closest to your Thanksgiving ritual)—and before we finish decorating for the holidays—let’s take a minute to reflect on our Thanksgiving thank-you list. Good health, check. Family and friends, check. No hurricane Irene or Sandy pounding the northeast in 2013? Check. 
Thankful TV commercials 
for Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over? 

I’ve got one more item to tick, but if you are the type of writer whose first drafts are snatched up by publishing houses you are excused from reading what comes next: I am thankful for writing rejections.

Writing is both a talent and a craft. Generally speaking, when one finds something easier to perform than others do without trying too terribly hard that thing becomes known as their talent. Singing, playing a sport, painting like Monet . . . skills can be developed, but some individuals have the basic knack from the get-go. 

On the other hand, activities such as following a recipe, folding origami, and crafting children’s hand- and footprints into angels or Rudolphs can be learned by anybody and done well after practicing with a good teacher. (By the way, if anyone wants tips on the angel or Rudolph, simply drop a comment!)

Truth is I’d be mortified if an editor or literary agent had actually taken me up on the earlier drafts of my work that I prematurely mailed with such eager beaver confidence. Most writers produce better work after several drafts, followed by suggestions from a critique partner or group, and then more editing for good measure until the writer would rather give up coffee than change a comma. Working hard to improve my craft has resulted in books that I will be proud to promote.

This year, I'm very thankful that a wonderful, growing Christian publisher in the UK, Sunpenny Publishing, is willing to take a chance on me. Look for The Lost Crown of Apollo to become a published novel for middle graders sometime within the next two years! Most thankful that Sunpenny is also taking on my twin sister's novel for kids, Bon Voyage, Sophie Topfeather, and our dream of promoting books together has a very good chance of coming true!