Since last summer, I have pitched my third manuscript twenty-seven times to potential literary agents. Twenty-six times I have either been ghosted or formally rejected. At first, this process was very hard. Rarely does the reply (if any, at all) give insight into the rejection, but when there is a bit — it is gold!
I was told by a published author a few months back that twenty rejections are nothing, keep trying. Some authors post them on their walls as reminders of perseverance and motivation. For me, it reminds me of last winter when my dog, Brambleton, chased a squirrel between townhouses, and we stumbled upon a dresser by the trashcans. I returned with the car, loaded it up with Chris’s help, and brought it home.
I learned over the next week how important it is to go through a slow process of sanding the wood to restore it to something new and beautiful. Sandpaper comes in varying degrees of roughness called grits. I started with harsh-grit sandpaper to rid the furniture of the old color, grime, and scratches. If done right, it carefully tears the wood. If done wrong, it can destroy it.
Once down to the bare wood, I had to build back up to a smoothness that would accept an oil that would close the wounds, making the dresser smooth, vibrant, and worthy of display.
That process is called “going through the grits”. For hours, I went over the same places of this dresser, carefully sanding with harsh grit after harsh grit. And then, finally, I sanded to smoother and gentler grits, slowly closing the wounds on the wood to uniformity that would help it accept the salve of oil, finishing its restoration.
Book proposals and pitching my work to the outside world is like ripping open ones’ heart which has softened to write. The rejections can hurt, but they can also strengthen me as a writer. What can I learn in this gritty process? Publishing is the business side of writing. I must have a literary agent to sell it to a publisher. That agent needs a quality product to sell and share with the world. I can whine, wounds open, or I can keep coming back for another pass to learn from it.
So, last week, as I mailed off my twenty-seventh pitch, I asked God to let me learn in this pass. If nothing else, let there be feedback that will enable me to close the wounds that will receive the correction and know how to take on the next.
I am gaining grit and determination. I am being molded and taught. I want every part of this process to better what God wants from my writing, no matter how hard it might seem to hurt. In the end, I know, it all comes down to telling stories about how He is the ultimate restorer.
My passion is to write stories that inspire readers to know who God is and who they are in Him. This process of writing and publishing goes hand-in-hand. I’m excited to see what’s to come!