Monday, May 17, 2010

The World Has Turned and Left Me Here.

In high school, Weezer's Blue Album was king of my CD player.  And for good reason.  It kicks ass, dude.  Say what you will about some of the insanity they've put out in the past few years.  The Blue Album is a constant.

I remember being in my car, listening to the song The World Has Turned and Left Me Here when one of my friends said, "Man, can we change this... it reminds me of... Her."

At the time, I was like, "Oh, yeah, man."

Now I'm thinking:  "Jesus, really?  Are we really a couple of emo dudes riding around North Carolina, listening to Weezer and talking about our feelings?"

To make the story even more memorable, this dude - not really a friend, more of a person I was trying to get to play bass in our garage band at the time - kept rewinding the CD to one part of the song and saying, "Right there.  That's how I feel."


As writers, we are warned left and right about the deluge of rejections that will come.  It's not an "if" it's a "when" we're told by the weathered veterans, people with old queries stuck to their shoe and a 1,000 word stare.

Some of us believe them.  Some of us don't.  But we all face rejection.

Hopefully none of us are sitting there alternating between refreshing our e-mail and rewinding a mid-90's Weezer song.  But the question remains: what do you do when the inevitable rejection comes?

I suggest drinking.

Okay, not really.  But hell, it's worked for many writers.

Seriously, though - what do you do when an agent writes back and says, "Hey, you should off yourself and save the world from whatever this thing is you sent me.  Or take up knitting.  BTW - I just didn't love it."

What do you do?

Here's what I suggest:

1.) Turn to other writers.  I can't stress enough how important having a community of other writers is.  I, personally, have 5-6 writers at various stages of this maddening process who I can e-mail and say a number of things - good and bad.  I've never even met half of them, but I consider them good friends and wouldn't be able to navigate this process without them.

2.) Keep it in perspective.  Seriously.  Whether your frustrated with a scene in your first (or ninth) book, struggling with your newest agent-penned rejection, or anxiously waiting to hear back from your agent regarding a submission - keep it in perspective.  There are bigger things to worry about.  The worst thing that can happen is you'll write a new book, you'll query another agent, or you'll (again) write another book!

3.) Remember why you started writing.  All I need to do is go into the book store and make my way among the shelves.  It reminds me how much I want to be a part of the publishing business.  I remember how passionate I am when it comes to my writing.  Usually, that's enough to shrug away the negative thoughts.

4.) Learn.  Read those rejections.  What do they say?  What can you use to make your book better?  Your writing?  Do not fall into the arrogance of thinking everything you write is golden and perfect.  Leave that for me.

So what draws me back?  Mainly, as said above, my love of writing.  My to have a voice in the YA community.  But it's more than that.  It's the idea that I can always get better.  How every time I sit down at my laptop, there's a chance I'm going to put something down that surprises me.  Or even better - makes me remember why I started writing in the first place.

Weezer.  For you.


  1. It seems "Say It Ain't So" would also be an appropriate soundtrack to this post. At least for the denial stage of rejection.

    Really nice post-- thanks for the reminder and shot in the arm.

  2. Words to live by, although I think they'd be most effective in conjunction with a full arsenal of deadly ninja weapons.

    In all seriousness, good post, and good advice. Perspective is sometimes hard to maintain, but it's always essential to try and maintain it.

  3. Oh, how I love me some Weezer... What a great post and a wonderful pep talk! I needed this today, thanks!

    Hopped over here from Kierah Jane Reilly's blog... you've got a new follower in me! I look forward to reading your blog! :)

  4. I am currently listening to Everclear, I was nine years old when Weezer released WEEZER, and I am struggling to find something relevant to say. Maybe I should also drink some everclear? No, wait, I should write.

  5. Today, I had moments of, 'I'm doing this, WHY?' And yet, my brain keeps turning. My fingers itch to write. I keep telling myself to shake it off. And I second the posse of writers (and occasional non-writer) to lean on. Go us. Hi J. *waving* Thanks Bryan.

  6. Kate: YES! That definitely could work. But it doesn't have the story... which, really, makes the post. ;)

    Mike: Ninja weapons. Damn it. #5 Ninja Weapons. Very helpful with rejection.

    B. Miller: Thanks! Glad to "meet" you!

    Jonathan: Everclear, another guilty pleasure of mine. The band, that is...

    Heather: Your welcome!

  7. That would be YOU'RE welcome, Heather... Lord...

  8. Love Weezer! I hate rejection. There are days I wish all agents adopted the "no response means no" policy because at least then there'd still be hope. Ha! But I agree about how supportive other writers are, especially the blogging kind :)

  9. I agree with LoganO. That dude's a genius. And bilingual!

  10. BUWAHAHAHAHA! I love how you put that--the Emo dudes driving around North Carolina talking about their feelings. That's just the most beautiful image!

    I TOTALLY agree about leaning on fellow writers. I've got about three circles of writing friends that I feel close enough to to do the pouty angsty thing with, and that I feel sure enough that they will reinforce that I will GET there--it helps SO much!

    I CRAVE though, to get a rejection with information in it... I've even had partial requests that the rejection then told me nothing... Hmph.

  11. I have the sudden, overwhelming urge to go 'number three'.

  12. Great post. Especially after my First Rejection Letter a few days ago.

    I'm leaning towards drinking.