Thursday, June 20, 2013

How do you deal with rejection?

Everyone has to deal with it at some point in their lives.  Either professionally or personally, or perhaps both, and some of us seem to have to deal with it more than others.  Why is that?  
Given the artistic fields, whether art, music, writing, etc… is all about people’s likes and dislikes, seems like people in those fields have to deal with a big share of it.  More than most?   Or does it just seem like that?
So how do you gird yourself to not let the rejection not destroy your creative ability?
Or at least damage it to the point you really falter at it.    Or at least your belief in it, and yourself.
And yes, I can understand how to do it when it is an impersonal thing.  But I have seen more than one writer severely damaged by another giving ‘helpful critiques’ that were, if not meant to be personal, certainly came across as such.  And not in a good way.   Which was certainly damaging.  Very damaging.   I also know how that can be cloaked as blame of someone taking it too personally.  Well, yeah, since that is the way it was meant, isn’t it.   No?  Maybe everyone needs to take an honest look at themselves before they say anything.
I’ve seen way too many passive aggressive people to believe that everyone means you well.
So how do you determine?
How do you sift the good stuff from the personal jealous or attacking type?

I saw an interesting take on it I hadn’t seen before.
From Chuck Sambuchino.

He talks about rejections, how they can be demoralizing and hard to decipher.
A lot of us know all about those.

Interestingly though, where most of what I’ve read talk about mining the rejections to see what you can take away - looking at it objectively….. Uh, yeah, perhaps some of us can do that, and most can eventually.  Maybe.
But Chuck Sambuchino’s take on it is to not try to analyze them, but to just push through them.

Huh.   I can see the wisdom of looking at rejections from the point of view of if everyone is telling you the same thing then perhaps you need to take another look at something.  Even if it’s just not the right timing or market right now.
Which is sort of like what he says.

So for all of you who are losing faith in your skills, read this.   And keep on writing.
If nothing else, in the comment section below.   Hey, it’s writing.  *Grin*

From the Editor

Rejection is a part of writing -- even if you're an agented writer or have some credits under your belt. No matter what you write, it will likely get rejected, possibly many times. What makes rejections frustrating is that oftentimes they are vague or even contradictory. They can be demoralizing and hard to decipher. 

The most important thing you can do concerning rejections is not try to analyze them, but rather simply push through them . Plenty of times, when editors say no, they are simply saying "This particular piece of material is not for me personally at this moment in time." In other words, it's up to you the writer to keep composing new works and submitting them. 

Case in point: Back in 2008, I wrote my first two children's books. Both got rejected by every agent I queried. I didn't fret, because I got busy writing humor books and reference titles. I believed perhaps the kidlit writing world was just not for me. But something strange happened recently. I submitted another picture book on a whim that was co-written with a friend. Within a few days, we got multiple offers of representation and had signed with a children's book agent (Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary). Quite the whirlwind weekend. 

I tell you this because I had basically given up on that realm of writing. I had lost faith in my skills and let the rejections get to me, and I'd stopped moving forward. When I finally started again and focused on a goal, an amazing thing happened. Move past rejection. Keep writing! Good things will happen.

Until next time, good luck writing, agent hunting, and building your writer platform!

Chuck Sambuchino 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Legacies and What We Leave

As I mentioned in previous blog post, this year I was Chair of the committee for the James River Writers Emyl Jenkins Award.    [And if I didn’t mention, I Meant to. Maybe.]     The awards were presented at the JRW June on the James fundraiser event last week.  [Get the James River Writers newsletter so you can put on calendar to some join us for all the fun next year!]  

I was requested along the way to write up my thoughts about Emyl, and it of course, brought up thoughts about Emyl.   That I’ve not thought of in a long time.  Or perhaps tried not to.
Her stepdaughter Erika and I were talking about Emyl.  And of course we were laughing.   That’s the legacy I think Emyl wanted to leave - as Emyl’s husband Bob said in his great remarks the other night, ‘Tinkerbell’ Emyl wanted everyone to smile and think happy thoughts.
Erika and I were laughing at our remembrances of Emyl, always bustling into places with her hair flying around her, and patting it into place when she stopped to take a breath to speak to someone.
And talking about how she always seemed to able to talk Anyone and Everyone into …well, into anything and everything.  [I have only met 1 exception to that]     I remember standing with a couple of people one time and we were talking about Emyl … probably, if I remember it right, at all the stuff we had going on, and what all Emyl had managed to talk us into doing, and one of them said, It is like an out of body experience.  Emyl is so charming and lovely and then you wake up next morning going ‘NO!  I agreed to do What!”      There wasn’t even any hangovers involved that I knew of, even though Emyl certainly believed in ‘spirited’ writers fluid.
Erika was laughing about what all Emyl had talked her into.  And yet there’s always a tinge of sadness in our eyes I know when we talk of Emyl.  Of a too abrupt parting.  And someone leaving our lives too soon.    To open up the memories, or emails, too much is still too painful. 
And yet, we still remember and talk of her.   And there is always laughter.  Even if the eyes are tearing up, there has to be laughter.   So Emyl is still getting her way. ;)
I’ve read somewhere that as long as we speak someone’s name and remember them that they will continue to live.
I know Emyl still does for a lot of people.
Beyond her writing, numerous fiction and nonfiction books, she lives on as a vibrant person that meant something to the people she met.    And more importantly, she make people feel they meant something.    And that they, and their writing, was important.
She had such a talent for reaching out to writers and pulling, or pushing, them out of their self-imposed aloneness, to encourage, support, and challenge.   For all her interests, and she had Many, from working with the Governors Mansion committee with their antiques, to gardening, to loving and working with the Library of Virginia, and to luckily, being a part of James River Writers, she always seemed to find the time somewhere to encourage another writer.
To make them feel that they had a voice.  And one that should be heard.

Thankfully there are others that, though they might not be Emyl, and not quite fill the gap she left, they are at least doing something to help writers.    To encourage.  To support.    To hear their voices.
James River Writers certainly tries to do all that, and recognizes such people, and organizations, each year that do such things for writers.  JRW does that with the Emyl Jenkins Award to honor the woman that did all that and more.
And is still missed and thought of.    And spoken of.
Not a bad legacy to leave, huh.
More than all her wonderful books, she leaves a part of her that will always be remembered.  And talked of.

You’ve got time to think of someone, or an organization, that you can nominate for the Emyl Jenkins Award for next year.
So start jotting notes now.

As Emyl’s husband said, she would be embarrassed by all this hoopla with her name on it, but she would also be pleased.
And I hope, very very proud, of all the legacies she’s left behind with and in all of us.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Getting Out and Just Going

The James River Writers June on the James fundraiser event was Thursday night.  Even the rain held off for the event.
I really appreciate the Charlottesville supporters from WriterHouse braving the pouring rain they had to drive through to come.
Course they needed to come accept the Emyl Jenkins Award from me, but I’m still really glad they came.
For a lot of reasons.
As the nominator said when nominating Hampton Roads Writers for the Emyl Award, writing is such a solitary endeavor……writers need support…..

I think the days of the reclusive hermit writer in the cave or turret, and staying there, have ended.  To get people to see and notice your book there has to be Some kind of presence out in the world.
So you Are going to have to Do IT - Do Something in the world - even if you never quite get used to it or even like it.
And that is not at All easy for us solitary writers.
But I can tell you it gets easier.  A little anyway.   Sometimes.   You might still have days that are better than others.   But that’s true of your writing life too isn’t it?

I keep hearing it again and again, from writers at James River Writers Writing Show, to the JRW casual meet up of writers, that we wittily call Writers Wednesday — coming up This coming Wednesday at Capital Ale House downtown Richmond 
- to the other night at JRW’s June on the James fun event.    
This getting out and actually having to meet and talk to Real people is difficult.  To some people that might include a lot of things more than what I am talking about here.
I am talking about getting out and going to writers events.  
Places where you can meet, and even — gulp --- actually Talk to others about writing.  Or about anything really.
We writers are uncomfortable with all this.   
Although it appears Some obviously aren’t.   Or do they just seem that way?
Are some just better at hiding it?
What do you think?

I know that I was one of those typical ‘hiding’ writers.  [And still am, believe it or not.]  Compounded by coming from a computer background, of being, well, in the background.  Or at least not known for the wonderful skills of interacting with real people.

I have talked about, and probably will talk more, about Emyl Jenkins.
Her legacy to me was an indirect one.  I watched her every chance I got.  I realize I’m not any way close to being her.  And she had a charm that I certainly don’t have.   Irritatingly she passed away before I could quite figure out how she managed it all.   ESPECIALLY how she could talk people into such things!  And they were Always so Delighted!     Course as some of her lovely friends and I have talked about, it was almost like an out of body experience… to wake up next morning and realize what we had agreed to!    And hangovers weren’t even involved!   At least I’m pretty sure.
Emyl always seemed to have time for writers, encouraging and urging them on.  Sometimes fussing them on.
Most of all, she made the mingling and talking seem like it was effortless for her.    And she was a Writer!
Maybe there are people out there that it is effortless to them as well?
[Am thinking about whether I really want to hear from you if it is that easy for you.   ;)  Sorrtta.  Ok, half-hearted grin.]

Well, I’ll tell you it isn’t effortless for me to get out there and mingle and speak to you.  
 Regardless of what it Looks like!
Yes, I have friends that I have apparently fooled very well.
But I don’t lie, and it is still very difficult for me.
I can say, it does get a bit easier each time.   Or at least not as cringing stab-in-the-eye painful. Mostly.

Yeah, some people might not speak to you.   But just as they say to don’t take the writing critiques so personally, and that’s still hard, the same thing applies to talking with other writers.  They might just be jerks.   But they might be also panicking just as much inside as you are and coming across as stuck-up jerk. 

As the President of Hampton Roads Writers, Lauran Strait, and I stumblingly talked about the other night, [see I told you. Most writers don’t have an easy time at this socializing / mingling thing] that we both like writing a whole lot more than, you know, actually having to talk to people.   And being President, you know she must have to talk to a lot of people.  
Having volunteered for JRW for a few years now, I know that doesn’t just involve talking to writers.   Double gulp to the throat…and sometimes even the tummy.

But we can survive it!
I mean Come on, when you speak to your characters they are just as big a jerks sometimes too.
And they don’t speak to us at times either.
Yeah, we threaten them with the power to kill them off.  [Bwahahaha, we gloat.]     They laugh at that too you know.   

So pull up your big girl / big boy pants and take a chance on us.  Start coming to a JRW event.  We’re pretty friendly.  Remember we all have our bad days and most probably are scared just like you.
You can try it out casually Wednesday, June 12, at the downtown Richmond Capital Ale House, where JRW Writers Wednesday is meeting this month.
And then the JRW Writing Show at the end of the month.
Start working up to the JRW Conference in October.   It’s certainly worth it.  And you have time.

While I’m talking about James River Writers, I want to give a shout out to the 2013 winners of the JRW Emyl Jenkins Award!

Congratulations Hampton Roads Writers !    
           Thanks to President Lauran Strait for coming to get the Award


Congratulations to the team of Sophia Volpi and Louise Ball

It was so great to meet you all!     Even if we didn’t get to talk all that much.  **Sheepish grin**

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Writers Doing Social Media in 7 Minutes

The 7 Minute Rule  -  so says David Henry Sterry, other half of The Book Doctors and Arielle Eckstut.

     ‘How to build your social network/platform without getting lost in the time suck’

The 7 Minute Rule for Social Media

How to build your social network/platform without getting lost in the time suck

That’s what he says.
And for those who have met them, heard them, at the James River Writers Conferences [in Richmond, Va.], you know how smart they are.

And I Think they are coming back to the Conference this October too!
Just saying you might want to sign up and come.
The Conference registration opens in June — so coming up soon.

I do admire David and Arielle both, they are savvy and smart, and dynamic.   
[Not to mention raising a Great daughter.]

I also have bought both a print version and an e-book version of their book, 

And my print version is marked up and filled with post-a-notes.  And resides in stack of books on my night table.

Doesn’t mean I still won’t whine about all this.

I mean I Do Try to do everything!    And know I should be doing more.  But if I get less sleep than I do now I believe my husband just might revolt.  Not that he’s not somewhat right that I should get more sleep.   [No, he is not correct that we do not need more books, have no room for more books.]   But there just seems to be so much that Needs to be done, Should be done [you Know those are the Awful voices in your head], Has to be done, and then of course, there’s the ones you want to do.   Sigh.
There’s the whole of that list that applies to the personal part of life, as well as the whole of that to apply to the professional side of trying to be a writer.   Double sigh.
And I’m behind on things that I have to get done before Thursday’s James River Writers June on the James.   If you are in the Richmond, Va. area buy a ticket and join us.  Fun event.  And helps JRW bring all the great things to writers.
For more casual meeting of your tribe as David talks about in his post, come to the JRW casual meet up of Writers Wednesday, June 12.
For more info’ on Thursday’s June on James and / or Writers Wednesday next week, or even the JRW Writing Show at end of month — not to mention information on the great Conference in October, be sure to check the JRW web site.

And now I think that's been more than 7 minutes, so gotta go!

Find us.  Find your tribe.  Come out and connect.   We can all whine about David’s 7 Minute Rule for Social Media