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Sunday, February 13, 2011
I Write Because...
My motto for writing is to encourage, enlighten and entertain. With that, I thought I'd share a piece I wrote in hopes of encouraging someone along the way.
...And Still I Write In The Face of Rejections
Writing has always been a source of comfort for me. I can remember when I was in high school how much pleasure I got from my journalism class, writing and sharing words with my like-minded peers. But for many years after graduating from high school, I didn’t writing anything. It wasn’t until after the untimely death of my mother and son in 1994 that my husband suggested I start writing. I’d previously told him how much I loved to write in school.
He suggested that I use writing as a way to express my feelings about what I was going through. He got the idea after our grief counselor had us write goodbye letters to our departed loved ones in one of the group sessions. Thus the beginning of my writing life began.
I’m happy to say I’ve been writing continuously since 1994. I've written several short stories, as well as a non-fiction book about loss and the grief process, a collection of poems, articles and essays, in addition to completing my first work of fiction, Sacrifices In The Name of Love.
With all of the joy and comfort writing has brought to me, the most frustrating part thus far was getting published by a traditional publisher. I've entered many short story contests, placing as a runner up in one. I've written personal letters, essays, and several poems that have been accepted for publication in anthologies.
I've created a web site displaying some of my work. I've submitted essays and poems to online sites that do not offer any compensation, just to get my work seen by others. I’ve joined many online writers groups to help get my name out there and to introduce my work.
In reference to my non-fiction book, I have so many, “Thanks, but no thanks,” form rejection letters from agents and publishers that are suppose to specialize in the type of book I’ve written. It is really hard not to lose focus on my purpose of writing, and that is to entertain, encourage and/or educate others with my writing.
For the many rejection letters that come through, I remind myself that each one in only one person's opinion. I will continue to send out query letters. I haven’t been deterred in my mission, especially when the letters appear to be standard form rejection letters and are of poor quality, or the agents or publishers don’t bother to compose a letter of their own. They just unprofessionally, scribble, “No, thanks,” across my original query letter.
“It's their loss,” I conclude as it’s evident that the agents and publishers who respond with form rejection letters aren’t worthy of my written words if they don’t know how to be the professionals they claim to be.
It’s ironic, I think. “What would agents and publishers do without writers?” They disregard worthy manuscripts like yesterdays old newspapers. I would love to be the fly on the wall of many agents and publishers who discarded the works of E. Lynn Harris, Karen Q. Miller, and many other notable authors who chose to self-publish after being rejected by large publishing house.
This poor treatment of the now best-selling authors by agents and publishers remind me of the scene in the Temptations movie, when one of the original members of the R & B Singing group who quit and then bangs his fist on the bar as he watches the group perform their first hit song, “My Girl,” for the first time on the Ed Sullivan show. Well we all know that to this day, the Temptations legacy still lives on some 50 years later. As the saying goes, “…And the rest is history.”
I wonder how many desktops have been banged in this manner, as many of the authors that were rejected now sit atop Best-Sellers lists time and again.
I don't let Nay-Sayers deter me in my quest to fulfill a lifelong dream of writing and becoming a published author as I continue to write in spite of the many rejections I've received.
I tell myself that if no one else ever gets to see my written words, then so be it. I started writing as a way of helping me to deal with a very traumatic time in my life. By writing, I have accomplished that and so much more and as such, I feel I’ve already reached my number one fan, me. And I will continue plucking away at my computer keyboard, sending out query letters, all the while increasing my writing portfolio until I reach you, my other number one fan.
In 2009, my perseverance paid off. My first work of fiction, Sacrifices In The Name of Love was accepted for publication by Red Rose Publishers, and was released in Ebook form on June 3, 2010.
So always remember, perseverance and persistence is vital if you want to fulfill your dreams of becoming a published author. Learning to not let rejection letters deter you is vital, if that’s your goal. But first of all, YOU have got to believe in yourself and your writing abilities.