Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ride Above and Beyond Rejection

Rarely do I drive anywhere these days without my son in tow, bopping in the back seat or pointing out trucks and trees that catch his discerning eye.

When I do find myself alone in the car, I, for some odd reason, want to push the outer limits of my speedometer. Run my gas tank not just down to empty, but dangerously beyond. I want to feel the rush of seeing the "---" when I push a button to reveal how many miles more I can drive before breaking down. I want to blast my music. Open every window. And the sunroof. Pass cars aggressively. Floor it.

Don't worry. It's not that I (always) do these things, but I consider them. Being alone in the car is a bit of freedom, both physical and mental.

So, last week, when I took off for Lancaster, PA, to attend a two day writers' conference, I wanted to put down the roof of my car (even though it's not a convertible) and let the wind whoosh through my hair. I had big plans.

I passed sprawling farmland, horse n buggies, and homemade pretzel shops on my way to meet some of the most prestigious authors, agents, and editors in the literary world.

I listened intently in each seminar I attended, jotting down copious notes. One big time literary agent from NYC scoffed as he answered a question from one of us lowly writers in the crowd.

"It's just annoying," he leaned into the microphone on the table in front of him. "I don't understand why some of you actually feel the need to respond to a rejection letter. It's like you reject the rejection letter."

Ok, note to self: don't reject the rejection.

What's true in dating and job hunting is also true in writing.
1. Rejection sucks.
2. But it's a useful learning tool.
3. Reject the urge to wallow in rejection.
4. Remember that the most successful people in the world have experienced rejection.
5. Be patient and persistent.
6. Do what you were meant to do with your life, and
7. If all else fails, put down your car windows, crank up some tunes, put your foot on the gas, floor it, and enjoy the ride.

At least that's what I told myself to do as I rode alone in an elevator, straight back down to reality, after getting rejected brutally by a very bright yet aloof vice president of the Children's Division of a major publishing company. We had a lovely conversation. Really, we did. She told me my idea was terrible, in so many words.

And, guess what? Life goes on. I had nothing to lose but a great opportunity to pitch an idea that I concocted at 3 a.m. the night before.

So, don't feel sorry for me. Rejection is part of life. You know I'm going to hitch up my horse n buggy and keep on ridin'' . . . and once I get that green light, I'm going to gallop off into the sunset. You can bet on that.

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