Embrace Your Inner-Pollyanna

Monday, January 07, 2013
In today’s world, it’s easy to become cynical. People rarely say what they truly mean or what they truly think. Have a nice day. I love your new haircut. Go first, I don’t mind. How often have you said them when you really meant the exact opposite?

As writers we are at a special risk to fall into the trap of becoming hardened, cynical human beings. After all, isn’t 90% of our life rejection brightened up by an acceptance here and there? Once you receive the twelfth “No thanks, but keep trying” email of the week, isn’t it easy to start thinking that those all-powerful editors, agents, and publishers don’t really mean “keep trying.” Could it be that they really want to say “Stop bothering me with your annoying emails” and settled on “Keep trying” simply because it was quicker to type?

I used to agonize over the “hidden meaning” behind seemingly friendly comments from the gatekeepers world I wanted to join. But after too much time reading and rereading rejections, I decided to adopt a Pollyanna attitude. Do you remember Pollyanna? The little girl who believed everyone was nice, everything would turn out just fine and any unkindness was simply a mistake. Naïve? Perhaps. But then again she was always smiling and her life did have a tendency to turn out happily ever after. So I decided to embrace my inner-Pollyanna and believe that all those gatekeepers wanted to help me become a better writer, to give me tips to help me succeed, to share my writing with the world. As far as I was concerned, everyone in the publishing world was on Team Jodi.

Recently I got turned down to write a children’s book in a series, after I got down to the nail biting final three writers. And, like all writers, I had been SO SURE I had it all wrapped up. The rejection was very gentle and encouraging . . . there was even a final line of “We’d love to see more of your work.” Hmmm. In the past I might have dismissed it as a bunch of hooey. But, embracing my inner-Pollyanna I decided to believe this lovely editor. Maybe she meant it, maybe she didn’t. But either way I was going to send her more of more work.

I sent not one, not two, but four picture book proposals. She asked to see three manuscripts! Three! But if I hadn’t embraced my inner-Pollyanna and believed that all the editors, agents and editors really wanted to say Yes to budding writers I wouldn’t be one step closer to my dreams coming true.

So if you haven’t settled on a writing resolution why not decide to embrace your inner-Pollyanna?

Jodi Webb is a WOW Blog Tour Manager and is keeping her fingers crossed about adding children's book author to her resume. If you want to get the word if any of her three books gets the green light stop by her blog Words by Webb or follow her on Twitter @wordsbywebb.


Sioux Roslawski said...

I am going to 1) keep six of my fingers crossed (3 pairs, 1 pair for each picture book) and 2) try to keep your story in mind when I get the "thanks, but no thanks...but please keep us in mind in the future" message.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Anonymous said...

In a profession that is so directly personal with rejections but relies on inner fortitude and determination to succeed, your advice is well taken.

MonetteChilson said...

I had this exact Little Golden Book version of Pollyanna! What a great reminder. I am naturally an optimist, but rejections can send even the most chipper of us into the doldrums.

Embracing my inner Pollyanna in 2013,


Audrey said...

Thanks for sharing this advice. It is right on...not easy...but right on. When I have been able to dig deep and pull out my inner Pollyanna I am able to handle my rejection (both personal and professional) and move on with grace and humor. By handling my rejections this way, I open the way for good things to happen!

Robyn Chausse said...

Hey, I had this same book--I'd forgotten all about it...
Can't wait to hear the news when your manuscripts are accepted :) Thanks for sharing this little bit of optimism and perking up my own inner-pollyanna!

Angela Mackintosh said...

When we can brush rejection off our shoulder and move on without dwelling on the negative, it's a great attitude to have. I've been on both sides of the fence, but as an editor I know that I would never say I'd love to see more of someone's work unless I meant it. I'm glad you took it as an invitation, and please let us know what happens. Determination, persistence, and a great attitude are the keys to gaining access to the gatekeeper's kingdom. Great advice, Jodi. :)

Margo Dill said...

I agree with, Ang! You go, girl. How exciting. Make sure you let us know how it all turns out. :)

Marcia Peterson said...

Inspirational post, Jodi! We all face these issues as writers, so it's a good reminder to stay positive and keep on going. Best of luck with everything!

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