Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ninjas and Violent Femmes

There are many stages to writing a novel. Like...a bunch...take my word for it. Right now, I'm in my least favorite stage--the rejection stage.

Ideas--I have a million. Starting an idea--got it. Finishing an idea--all over it. Asking for feedback and cowering in the corner while I get criticized--been there, done that, been back, cried a little. Editing--cried a lot, did it, did it again, did it again, and again and again. Sending my work out and getting rejected--well...I usually start out strong and then sputter and die a rather unremarkable, unnoticed death and then...start the whole idea process over again.

But I've vowed that will not happen with this novel. This is the one I believe in. The one I wanted to write five novels ago but didn't know how to approach. This is the one I refuse to give up on.

It's been tough.

I was at a point, not too terribly long ago, where I hated opening Gmail. I couldn't stand to see that grainy wood background that I chose because it looked oh-so-sophisticate. I couldn't stand to see the highlighted new messages that started: Dear Author, Thank you for sending me your work, but... I was mad at Gmail. It almost felt like all the rejection was Gmail's fault. Screw you Gmail! I could feel myself sputtering, choking, ready to die.

So...I had no choice. I had to jump-start my battery. When you're a writer, you have to jump-start your own battery. Have to hook the wires to your own positive and negative terminals. Have to ground one of the wires yourself. There's no donor. There's no one else on the planet with enough energy to jump-start your battery for you. Only you possess the required amount of energy.

I started by changing my Gmail background. Instead of the sophisticate wood grain, I opted for cartoon ninjas. Next, I dug out my favorite break-up song by the Violent Femmes, Kiss Off and played it on repeat. And I really started to feel better: a rejection ninja who forgot what eight was for.

I sent off a whole new crop of queries ready to be rejected, or even worse, greeted with non-replies, which feels a little bit like telling someone you love them only to sit by awkwardly while they bathe you in their silence.

Hopefully this will get me through June. I don't exactly know what will happen in June, maybe a reassessment, maybe a rewrite, maybe a whole new thing entirely, something I haven't even thought of yet. I don't know why June. Just feels like a good time to take another look. And if I sputter and die on the way, I only pray I can find the jumper cables again.

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