Today Ranee` S. Clark is here to discuss one of the hardest parts of writing (at least for me): rejection. Ranee` and I serve on the LDStorymakers Board of Directors together, and it’s been fun getting to know her. I haven’t read her books yet, but they are on my to-read list because they look like cute, fun romances, which is just the kind of stories I love (check them out below her bio). Ranee` has been running a March Cover Madness on her blog this month. I’m kind of obsessed with book covers, so I love this contest. The covers have been beautiful. Check them out here. (She also actually follows the real March Madness, as in basketball. So yeah, she’s pretty cool.)
Here she is:
Ranee` S. Clark: The biggest fact of a writer’s life is Rejection.
Even after gaining a contract or landing an agent, rejection still comes in many forms: a crappy review, a publisher or agent not liking a book, a book that doesn’t sell well. And unfortunately, all those things can affect our writing.
A recent rejection I received seemed to totally break my muse—it was emotional, I wasn’t sure where to go from that rejection, and I spent at least a week moping!
So, let’s talk about some tips to get that muse back up on her feet and up and running again for you.
The most obvious—take a break
Veg for at least a day or two on those TV shows you’ve been saving. Read a book that doesn’t make you think too hard. Go for walks. Exercise. Be crafty. Do all those things you’ve set aside because you got busy with writing.
You can definitely burn out on writing (also been there!) and stepping back to engage your other hobbies or likes isn’t a bad thing.
Get it out—talk to your friends who’ll understand or a spouse or your journal!
Say all the things you need to say about the rejection and how it makes you feel.
I turned to a couple of writing friends who had been exactly where I was and knew exactly how I felt. They listened and offered support . . . and some advice. Once I expressed in words outside my mind how vulnerable and confused this particular rejection made me feel, I was able to take steps to deal with those emotions.
Work on something for fun
When it comes down to it, I love writing to my core. Taking a break from it is good for me, but my soul always longs for words.
About eight or so years ago, before I was serious about getting something published, I used to write these totally ridiculous stories. It was just me and the words. After this rejection, I went back to that. I wrote for the sake of writing—not worrying if anyone would like it, what my beta readers would say, or if it would ever sell. (Because no one is EVER going to see it anyway . . . !)
So whether it be a journal, or that plotless idea that’s been churning in your brain—just write it.
Write something totally different
This advice is much like the last one. By turning your brain somewhere outside where you usually write, it’s easier to get the words flowing again. They’re not trapped by self-doubt or the fear that this too will just get rejected.
Don’t feel guilty
The business of writing can get us all down, but remember the reason you’re here is because you love it.
I was talking with my son about an author he’d discovered and loved. We had figured that she must be putting out two to three books a year based on when she’d started publishing her books and the multiple series she wrote in. My son asked if she got more money doing that—I answered that maybe she did. And despite the bitterness and emotions churning inside of me over my recent rejection, I said that probably didn’t matter as much as that she just loved to write and loved the stories.
If you’re in writing just for the business of it . . . I can’t speak for you. Maybe you’d better feel guilty. But for those of us here because we just can’t stop? Don’t feel guilty when you have to.
Love your writing, step away when you need to, write for the pure joy of it, and then get back up on the bike.
See, that muse is as good as new!
REBECCA’S THOUGHTS: Thanks for these tips, Ranee`! The only one I would add is chocolate Lots of chocolate. Unfortunately, rejection comes in many forms for writers, and I think these ideas work for all of them: rejection from agents, publishers, getting bad reviews, friends who hate your stories (and aren’t afraid to tell you). When I’ve allowed myself to put the brakes on writing, to focus on something even if it’s a different story, I’m able to focus better and write with more passion when I do go back to my story–because, try as I may, like most other writers, I just can’t leave it alone for long. Thanks again for your thoughts, Ranee`, and joining us for March Book Madness!
How have you dealt with rejection? What kinds of things have you done to get your muse back? Comment here.
Ranee` S. Clark is the author of two contemporary romance novels, Playing for Keeps and Double Play. During her early years of reading, Ranee` S. Clark devoured fantasy books, which continued into her adulthood—since she often believes that a well-written romance novel is a delightful fantasy. Though raising three boys can sometimes hamper both romance with her own Mr. Charming and her writing, she tries to get a little of both in every day. And most of the time she succeeds.
Check back tomorrow when my dad, Gerald N. Lund, talks about writing the movie in your head. See you then!
2016 MARCH BOOK MADNESS SCHEDULE :
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- Tue, Mar 1: Playing Fair: Good Guys vs. Bad Guys by Rebecca Belliston
- Wed, Mar 2: How to Self-Edit Your Work by J.J. Lyon
- Thu, Mar 3: 6 Ways to Choose Great Character Names by A.L. Sowards
- Tue, Mar 8: How to Energize Your Writing by Charissa Stastny
- Wed, Mar 9: 10 Things Your Freelance Editor Wishes You Knew by Sarah Belliston
- Thu, Mar 10: Creativity: A Process, Not a Product by Teresa Hirst
- Tue, Mar 15: 6 Tips to Avoid Author Burnout by Danyelle Ferguson
- Thu, Mar 17, How Book Clubs Can Help Authors by Charity Bradford
- Tue, Mar 22, The Writing Formula: Success in Any Genre by Jen Johnson
- Wed, Mar 23, Rejection & a Broken Muse by Ranee` S. Clark
- Thu, Mar 24, Writing the Movie in Your Head by Gerald N. Lund
- Tue, Mar 29, Chantele Sedgwick
- Wed, Mar 30, Julie L. Casey
PREVIOUS MARCH BOOK MADNESS YEARS:
- WHERE TO START: Genre | Plot | Setting | Finding Time to Write
- EDITING: Beats | Beta Readers | Chapters | Critique Groups
- CHARACTERS: Accents | Flaws | Moral Dilemmas|Motivation|Non-verbal Cues
- PUBLISHING: Querying | Marketing | Designing