Monday, March 12, 2012

Pigskin. And not the football kind.


We get it. Writing is hard work. Not only is the actual writing hard work, but then you have the proposal-writing, the proposal-proposing and the conference-attending.

And then - worse thing of all - you have to listen to editors tell you what's wrong with your story.

It can start with something as generic as a "No, thank you" letter from an editor or be as terrifying as watching a very famous author tear your work to pieces in front of an entire class (Thick-Skinned Critiques at the Christian Writers Guild conference. Gotta love 'em).

Either way, it's a mixture of humiliating, saddening, dream-dashing and depression-inducing. And I won't even mention the inevitable consummation of Oreos, hot fudge sundaes and other deliciousness created purely for eating while soaking in the miry abyss of Rejection Swamp.

But guys.

We are writers. And writers don't just give up.

If you want to be in this career, if you want to be a writer, you need to have great skills and a great story, yes. But you also need to have the skin of a 47-year-old woman who's addicted to tanning beds. Thick, basically.

(Which brings me to another good point - y'all should probably stay away from tanning beds. Just my two cents. ;)

You need to learn how to not internalize criticism of your story. Yes, I hear you out there. "I've poured my heart and soul into this book! It's like my child! I know these characters so well we have conversations in my brain!"

(Mm. Not going to lie - that last one is a little creepy for me.)

Please repeat the following as many times as it takes for you to truly believe it:

My story is not me.

Maybe it's based on your life. Maybe it's a memoir or a personal novel or whatever. It doesn't really matter. Because critics will critique and editors just "won't get it", publishers won't be "excited" by it and if you take every word you ever hear about your story and paste it on your heart, you are going to become a very depressed, very overweight from all the Oreos, very sad person.

And I do not want that for you.

Listen to what the editors say. Maybe change your story, maybe don't. Every person is going to have a different opinion and maybe they just weren't the right person for your manuscript. Do what seems best to you. But don't take it personally.

And know that we Scribble Chicks are rooting for you a million percent. And beyond that, we've all been there. So hold your head up high, friend. You never know what tomorrow might bring.


  1. Great thoughts as always! The Oreo thing cracked me up (and made me mad at the cheese stick I was nibbling)

    And I second the tanning bed thing (seeing how I had melanoma cut off my leg because of them)

    Ahem. And yes, my scar changes colors. It's sort of cool. I call it my mood scar. Who needs a ring from the 80's???