Gotta Have Faith

Wednesday, July 22, 2020
These days, my faith is faltering. I queried dozens of presses/agents earlier, and recently, queried/submitted to over 80 in the span of a couple of months. Many of those have not responded (an unspoken Thanks, but no thanks?) but I’ve had plenty of variations on The story doesn’t speak to me. (Each time I see the snippet of an email beginning, “Thanks so much for sending me…” my heart drops. I don’t know how an acceptance email about a manuscript begins, because I’ve never gotten one. However, I wish the negative ones would begin honestly and bluntly, so we don’t even have to open them. My suggestion: “Your writing stinks to high heaven,” or "Find another way to spend your time. Immediately.")

image by Pixabay

Currently, I’m going through a Writer’s Market 2018, and I highlighted (67!) publishers so I can make a last push. If no publishing contracts result, I will be forced to write the story in long-hand on legal pads and peddle them on a street corner go another route.

Of course, George Michael reared his head as I worked on this post. It was inevitable. Even though he's gone, his catchy tune burrowed into my ears. The lyrics and music to his song “Faith” slipped in my head and refused to leave… and now I listened to it from the perspective of a writer.

Oh, but I need some time off from that emotion
Time to pick my heart up off the floor
Oh, when that love comes down without devotion
Well, it takes a strong man, baby
But I'm showin' you the door.

'Cause you gotta have faith.
You gotta have faith.
You gotta have faith, faith, faith
You gotta have faith, faith, faith.

We need time--at times--to lick our wounds when we get rejected. However, when we’re in love with the idea of being a writer… and not having the devotion, the commitment to do the real work? Well, it takes a thick skin and a fierce spirit to kick the rejection (and our internal editor) out the door and to the curb… so we can get back to writing.

Speaking of licking one's wounds, Radar is
great at licking anything--the rejection off your face,
the ketchup on your fingers, whatever. Here he is,
faithfully waiting for me to stop writing so I can pet him.
In working on this post, I read a piece on how writers can renew their faith in their writing. Towards the end, there’s a list of 5 things you can do. I especially love #2. It makes so much sense. As a kid, I thought I was a writing rock star. Every line I wrote was like a pearl dropped from heaven. My school newspaper feature articles were hil. Ar. I. Ous. I just knew it. It was only when I got older that I started doubting my skills. Perhaps if more of us did what is suggested in #2, we’d have more faith in our abilities.

And faith is the fuel that keeps us showing up at our computer, ready and willing to write.

How about you? How do you keep the faith in your writing alive? Stumbling spirits want to know…

Sioux Roslawski turned into a human slug this spring and summer, but she's recently come out of hibernation and has sprung into action--submitting, querying, entering a contest, and getting her classroom ready. If you'd like to read more about her, head to her blog.


Nicole Pyles said...

This post speaks to me today! I heard from results from a writing competition and I didn't even place. I was disappointed and despite all my trying, none of my stories have been accepted anywhere. I have picked myself up, though, did another round of polishing on at least two so far, and will keep trying and submitting. I love that article you linked to. I think helping others has helped me too! I'm trying to do more critiques for people and I feel good about that. It's hard though but important to keep picking yourself back up. So, back at it I go.... Sigh....

P. S. That song is my head!

Margo Dill said...

I have heard so many times that writing success is 90% persistence and only 10% talent. Hang in there and besides keeping the faith, keep persisting!

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Sioux, your essay also rings true with me. My faith is often tested when I receive rejections (I received two this month) especially when I am feeling confident about the pieces I submitted. But after I have a short pity party, I go into writing motivation overload. I read quotes to encourage me and before long I am writing again and having faith in my ability to tell stories readers want to read and the right editor or publisher will accept. So Sioux, hold onto your faith tightly and use any rejection you receive as a mere steppingstone towards your manuscript(s) acceptance and publication.

Linda O'Connell said...

When the time is right...what will be will be...whatever! You talk yourself off the floor, down from high disappointment, and through the pain of rejections, but you never stop. Always remember that.

Fireblossom said...

I got most of my publications back in the days of SASE's and snail mail. It took months to hear back. But I was way into it then. Now I just write for myself and anyone who likes my blog, a dwindling few loyalists I appreciate more and more.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I'm taking a class at Khan Academy, The Art of Storytelling. Not that I need a knew story, but I find myself crafting a new story anyway as I work through their exercises. We'll see what happens.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Well, back when I still queried--I started the year with a bang but then I hit a Pandemic Wall and just can't seem to get going yet so congrats to you, Sioux, for getting out there!--my accepting rejection process always began with me yelling at the email (in a rather unladylike manner).

It's very cathartic before getting back to the querying and such. :-)

Angela Mackintosh said...

Sioux ~ Have you seen the George Michael documentary, Freedom? He was such a hard worker! When I get pelted with rejections, I tend to dig in even more and get the piece back out there. I keep the faith by remembering my why. I write that down again and again until it's drilled into my head. I switch forms--diving into short pieces, then back to memoir--and take writing workshops and critique other writers' work. I love the process of discovery.

Keep the faith, Sioux! Just remember your story is important and needs to be heard. Good job on all those 80 queries/submissions! Remember, the publishing industry is running slower right now because of the pandemic, too, so they might not have even looked at your submission yet. I just received a rejection for a short piece under 600 words after 6 months of waiting. I imagine full manuscripts will take much longer.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Nicole--You may like rhubarb pie. I do not. I like mashed potatoes with gallons of homemade gravy pooling on top. You probably do not. ;) Every editor/publisher has different taste. Just because I don't like something doesn't mean it's not good. It's just something I don't care for. Keep writing. Keep submitting. (And yeah, that George Michael sure could craft up a catchy tune!)

Margo--Remember those words. My "persisting" might bring me onto your publishing front stoop, with my manuscript in hand.

Jeanine--I hope that means you ARE working on a book. :)

Linda--I think I will frame that line and put it over my desk...

Shay--Can I say that I am pushing to be towards the front of the line of your loyalists?

Sue--Is this a "real" class? I know Khan Academy "tutorials" for students. Now you have me intrigued.

Cathy--You and I probably say the same unladylike lines. It IS cathartic.

Angela--I have not seen that documentary. Now I will have to search for it. You know, more vegging out in the name of "research." ;)

Pat Wahler said...

Hang in there, Sioux! There are many roads to publication. Keep submitting, but don't rule out publishing the book yourself. For many authors this has worked out quite well.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Pat--I'm not ruling anything out at this point. Whoever says "yes" first--a publisher or me--will win.

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