Submitting a manuscript does a certain thing to me. It enables me to feel the joy of hope and optimism. I give myself whole hearted permission to fantasize about the cover of my novel and to luxuriate in the imaginings of an acceptance letter from one of America’s publishing houses.
I allow myself and my muse to observe, from the recesses of my mind, the scene of sharing the good news with my friends and family. They smile and embrace me warmly while telling me what a wonderful job I’ve done. Everyone is surprised and pleased that it all happened so fast. I’m assured that I’m so deserving of having my words in print.
Receiving rejection letters is another issue that I’ve written about previously. Looking at the awkward responses, I’ve sometimes thought of how I could have written a better rejection letter, about how a particular editor didn’t have decent syntax or that by the tone of their letter that they were afraid to work with the topic. I’ve been sure more editors would have preferred a simple love story featuring zombies and vampires.
To my surprise submitting manuscripts and receiving rejections has become something different for me. Instead of pointing my fingers at others, I’ve taken to doing personal inventories on my process. Doing this has freed me up! I am liberated. Taking suggestions has landed me into a very special time. I’m not in a hurry. I am enjoying reading the multiple books on editing and style like never before. The copies are almost dog-eared now.
My favorite days this past week were spent looking at how many descriptors I’d peppered into my text. I laughed at myself a few times. That felt really good. I even shared about the number of italicized pieces I shouldn’t have included in my work with a certain relish. I’ve told and not shown when I should have- just like the oral storyteller from which I descend. My many errors amounted to that same number of rejections. They are rich and I am engorging myself in their sweetness. I am like the pears that swim in concentrated nectar. I will steep in dismissals and eventually yield with a piece that is the syrup of prose.
While my feelings may last for today, or this hour, it is okay. It is enough.