Rejection #33 - Jocosa of the Earrings

When we left our heroine of the earrings she was waiting to hear back from Donald Maass about her submission. 

It turned out to be ...

Rejection #33.

Can anyone say crushed, shredded, pruned? But I didn’t cry, I keened. 
I couldn’t get passed the image of myself drowning in a mall of rejections. I’d never write again. I couldn’t even deal with e-mail. And why, oh, why had I agreed to blog about my journey to publication? So, with my creative tank in a dustbowl, I allowed my inner actress to mourn. Wrapped in a blanket on the sofa, with a cup of African Cream Arooibis tea in one hand and a dozen vegan zucchini muffins in the other, I watched Gossip Girl (for a month) until it was time to board the plane for the 2010 Surrey Conference

And now? I’m rewriting. Why? Because I can. And once again because I can--is one of the best mantras I’ve discovered on this road to publication.

Writing is a process. The more we do it the better we get. In the fall of 2010 Harlan Coben re-released his debut novel Playing Dead. In his forward he says, “If this is the first book of mine you’ve picked up stop now.” He’s an author of 20 books and continues to grow in the craft because he recognizes where he’s been and challenges himself to find better ways to keep us up all night. Go Coben.

Life would have been oh, so grand if Donald Maass had offered to be my agent. He’s an amazing advocate for his clients. And he is one of the best motivational instructors on craft around. His workshops are standing room only. But even though he passed on my last draft, he’s given me three gifts. 

1-In 2008 he gave a speech titled Storyteller or Attention Seeker. Yes, publication will be nice when it comes but it’s a bonus, right? Writers place the words on the page to discover the story that needs to be heard, first by the writer and then by an audience. The intrigue is in the story—the story is what keeps us coming back to the page. I love my story. I love my heroine. And I’m willing to be patient with the process in order to make them both marketable.

2-In 2009 he confirmed that the structure of my story works. And his interest provided the fuel I needed to plunge into what would be my sixth draft.

3-His rejection brought clarity. Intially—not so much. But armed with my rejection, I was able to attend the 2010 Surrey conference with an objective for my Blue Pencil sessions: please, tell me why an agent is going to pass. And the answers arrived in the one-on-one feedback sessions I received and the workshops that seemed geared specifically to my weaknesses as a writer. Destiny guides again.

The submission process is scary terrain. 

Rejection is harder. But when the tsunami of our angst settles, if we are the storytellers we hope we are, our rejections are the building blocks for the next draft, or new manuscript.

Onward and Upward.

I think Jocosa deserves a big round of blog applause for agreeing to share her story with us. And she's not done. The universe (and I) are not letting her off the hook for her vow. She will continue to write, rewrite and pursue publication and she will not cut her hair until then. 

Here's how hairy she is these days:

Not quite Sasquatch material! Oh, yeah, Jocosa will start her own blog soon. Stay tuned to Three Dead Moths ... and I'll provide a link when it's up.   

And remember dear bloggowers:


Diane Girard said…
Rejection is a major bitch - no matter how often it happens!

I am glad that Jocasta will contine on her journey and wish her success.
Angie said…
A big round of applause for her! Keep going. I haven't died of rejection yet. It's been close sometimes, though.
I loved reading this story. I was rooting for Jocasta - and thought Maass was The One for her. Rooting (no hair pun intended) for her even more, now!
Jan Markley said…
Diane, Angie and Leanne: I think we were all rooting for Jocosa. She won't give up!
Solvang Sherrie said…
Nice story! Querying SUCKS and you never get used to rejection, even when it's a good one. But I'm glad that she's not giving up. Persistence is key!
Jan Markley said…
She's persistant, that's for sure Sherrie!
Morning Diane, Angie, Leanne, Jan and Solvang,

Thanks ever so much for following my journey and cheering. We write alone for an audience that waits in the wings somewhere in the future. So it's a comfort to meet like minds along the way to the spotlight. Friends make the journey much more rewarding. Thanks again. Onward and Upward, Jocosa
The Wicked Lady said…
Jocosa, I'm so impressed by your persistence, and your bravery, in querying thirty three times, and sharing that journey with us.

I have no doubt you WILL be published, however long it takes and however long your hair gets.

I wish I was as brave as you -- my query / rejection pile is only about half a dozen deep. I have now made it my personal goal to send out fifteen queries this year, so I can at least feel half as brave.

You rock, Jocosa!
We have to look into every rejection for some sort of lesson. If we do and we learn something then we continue to grow...
Amie Kaufman said…
I love the image of an inner actress reclining on the sofa! Thanks for sharing this--I look forward to hearing what I know will one day be a success story!
Jan Markley said…
That's a great goal Jennifer! If you can ride those horses while jousting - I think you're plenty brave! So true Sharon, every rejection is an opportunity to learn and grow. Yes, Amie, it's a dramatic image! I'm sure she will have a success story one day as her hair gets longer.
Thanks Wicked Lady, Sharon and Amie. Patience and persistence is the key. Each draft and rejection reveals a clue for how we need to proceed. If we didn't believe that we wouldn't be on the journey in the first place. So Cheers to us, and everyone in the trenches of creativity.
Jan Markley said…
True dat, Jocosa! Here's to the tenches of creativity (hmmmm, that would be a good blog post title)!
Helena Halme said…
Goodness, I needed this post today. Hums to herself, *rejection doesn't kill*.

Helena xx
Jan Markley said…
It makes you stronger Helena! Good to be of service here at Three Dead Moths ...
Lee Wind said…
Jocosa of the earrings, how brave of you to share your journey - and to include the bumpy parts! Persist, hone your craft, and who knows what might happen?
Namaste, and thanks to Jan for being part of the Comment Challenge, and for sharing your journey with us!
Jan Markley said…
Thanks for your inspirational words Lee. Yes, I've been part of the comment challenge but have been falling down on the job ... I'll do a few more tonight!