Welcome our Guest Blogger: Angela Ackerman from The Bookshelf Muse!!!!!!!!


I’ll never make it.
I should just quit.
I am a total loser.

Bleak words, aren’t they? Still, a familiar echo to anyone receiving the soul-consuming rejection letter.

A perfectly good day can go sour at seeing, ‘Dear Author’. Our breath cuts off, our chest tightens, the shoulders sag and despair slams us down. We ask ourselves why we put ourselves through this, why we can’t just catch a break.

Unfortunately being rejected (or e-jected) is just another part of the writing gig, like metaphors and modifiers. Rejection is out there, it will come for us at some point. Some letters hurt, others can devastate. All of them challenge our self belief.

Staying positive in the face of rejection is tough. Each time our confidence is scraped, the rejection a message that our writing isn’t good enough to take on, which we translate into meaning WE are not good enough.

Sometimes moving past rejection is as simple as firing out a few more queries, tightening a synopsis or revising that first chapter for the 900th time. Other times, rejection can cause our foundation of determination and self-belief to quake. We feel like we’re letting everyone around us down, including ourselves. Maybe we should face facts and pack it in.

During these black moments, it’s important to find a way to shift our thoughts out of the self-critical mode. This is difficult, but it can be done if we look at the rejection in a different light: as opportunity.

I know what you’re thinking—rejections are closed doors. What opportunity could their possibly be from a ‘sorry, not for me’ type rejection?

There are always things to learn, even from form rejections to queries. The trick is shifting the way you think from the negative to the positive. When a rejection pulls you down, consider these questions:

What does the agent/editor need?
What is my responsibility to them?
What can I learn from this?
How can I see this rejection differently?

Let’s look at each one of these for a sec.

What does the agent/editor need?

The sarcastic answer to this is, ‘Not my work, obviously.’ But if you can set aside the hurt and place yourself in their shoes, there’s insight to be had on their side of the desk. Pretend you are the agent or editor opening this query—what do they need from you? What will make them successful?

They need to see a compelling query, well written with a character and voice that calls to them. They want to find something different, something that peaks their interest & makes it a no-brainer to scribble a note telling you to please forward the book. At the end of the day, this person wants to sign great writers, and they’d like nothing better for this query to make them tingle in anticipation! They need a strong story and polished writing. They want to see a query from someone who has targeted them specifically because of who they represent/publish.

What is my responsibility to them?

It is the writer’s responsibility to write a strong, inviting query that offers enough information to make the agent/editor NEED to know what happens next–not too little, not too much. Give them the shape of it, a strong sense of the character, voice and style. Your best work shows them you are dedicated to this story being published. You do this by slaving over the query, polishing it until it shines as brightly as your belief in the book itself. You also show that you chose them specifically because they are a great fit, not that you spammed them with your query, hoping for the best.

What can I learn from this?

Once again, turn an honest eye to the query. Evaluate whether you satisfied the editor/agent’s needs and fulfilled your responsibilities. Is there something you can do better, or did this query simply hit your ‘good enough’ meter at the time you sent it out? Have you done all the research on the market that you can, do you feel a niggle of guilt over a corner you may have cut somewhere? Did you edit enough, critique enough, tweak enough? Have you done all you can to make this query a success, as well as any materials you sent with it (synopsis, bio, first chapter, etc?)

How can I see this rejection differently?

Of all the questions above, this one is the most important. When depression hits over a rejection, asking yourself this will lead you to a balanced perspective again. Because a rejection is in essence a negative, this question challenges you to find the positive.

Think of the positive things this rejection symbolizes for you, or write them down if you like. First, it shows you had the courage to send out your work. It proves you believed in your story enough to get it published. This leads you to think about how far your writing has come, how your talent has grown, how many stories you’ve written or how long you’ve worked to perfect this one.

Seeing the rejection differently sets you on a path that allows you to re-appreciate your own growth as a writer and your determination to reach your publication goal. How many writers have you helped along the way? How many writers believe in you, cheer you on and know you can succeed? Focus on your strengths and your accomplishments.

Finding the positive in any circumstance can revive confidence, lighten mood and bolster determination. Too, your body responds to positive thinking, helping to slough off despair and doubt. Breathing is easier, tension leaks from the muscles. Posture straightens as thoughts return to moving forward, and what can be done to ensure success. Suddenly the rejection is put back into perspective–one person’s opinion, not a career-ender.

Try this for yourself the next time a rejection hits you hard–it really does work!

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Angela Ackerman

Angela Ackerman is a Canadian who writes on the darker side of Middle Grade and Young Adult and is a strong believer in writers helping writers. She blogs at the award winning resource, The Bookshelf Muse and is co-author of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, a writing tool which helps writers navigate the challenging terrain of showing character emotion. Covering seventy-five emotions, this brainstorming aid provides a large selection of body language, internal sensations, actions and thoughts associated with any emotional moment.

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Very Inspiring Bloggers Award

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Very Inspiring Bloggers Award

I was nominated for “The Very Inspiring Blogger Award” on Saturday by fellow blogger at The Jenny Mac Blog and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Chelsea Brown for this award.

Thank you very much Chelsea, I truly appreciate this and I am paying it forward now.

Rules

1)   Display the award logo,

2)   Link back to the person who nominated you,

3)   State 7 things about yourself,

4)   Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.

Alright, let me try to share seven things that you may not know about me, without scaring you all too badly. J

1)      The music that I listen to is as random as my writing. A great mix of multiple genres’.

2)      I very rarely remember my dreams, but I always fall asleep thinking about something new to write about.

3)      I have two children and raised one of my nieces and treat her as my own.

4)      Due to tragedies in my family, I fell into a depression which has actually helped my writing tremendously.

5)      I started dating my “now” husband when I was fourteen years old. J

6)      One of my brothers committed suicide when I was 18 years old.

7)      I am turning 40 in May!!!! YIKES!!!

Nominees

(In no particular order)

 

Fiverr – I chose Fiverr because of the amazing people I have met there, not to mention the income!!

Mommifried – I chose Crystal from Mommifried because she is a dear friend and an inspiration!! Super funny

Prayers for Cheyenne Rae  – Cheyenne Rae and her mom, Amy, have inspired me more than I could ever put into words.

Joyann8 – Joyce has been a huge inspiration to me on a personal level and we met through my personal blog, My Crazy Family Life.

Independence Chick  – Another personal inspiration.

Damian Trasler’s Secret Blog  – Another personal inspiration.

Creatrixblood – Claire has inspired me the most as far as continuing with my writing. Thank you Claire!!

Terrible Minds – Chuck is an excellent writer and I take all of his tips and tricks very seriously.

Imagineer Books – One of my newer inspirations.

Coastline Books – Another one of my newer inspirations.

Michelle Proulx – Another one of my newer inspirations.

Where Have All the Flowers – Another one of my newer inspirations.

Oprah – This is probably a no-brainer, but I have been inspired by Oprah since I was a child.

Cell War Notebooks – Julie’s amazing story is so heart-felt and inspiring.

I am Charm – Charm is an inspiration to everyone that has ever read her blog.

 

Congratulations to all of my nominees!!!

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