IMHO, a little known fact is that writers are among the strongest people on earth. I’m not talking Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone strong here, more the quiet, unrelenting kind of strength that has little to do with brawn and a lot to do with brain. To keep the actor analogy going, I mean writers are more like Russell Crowe or Patrick Stewart in the roles they typically favor—quiet, thoughtful, resilient and, most of all, determined. Writers, too, are determined. They’re hell-bound to get that manuscript published, no matter how long it takes, no matter how many rewrites they have to produce, or what the cost in sleepless nights or dry days when the Muse has fled.
They will not give up.
Case in point: A multi-published author friend recently had a story submitted to a major publisher. She had polished the book until it shone, so her hopes were high, but realistically so. After all, she’d honed her craft over the years and earned a good degree of acceptance in the marketplace. Long story short, the book was rejected. What smarted wasn’t the rejection so much but the cold way it was expressed.
On the phone to me my writer friend said, “The only thing he liked was the typing.” Her attempt at gallows humor over a book she thought could be her break-through novel was as gutsy as going 5 rounds. So what did she do? She plucked what was usable from the harsh comments and went back to work on the manuscript.
I suspect this tale or a variation thereof is familiar to anyone who takes his craft seriously. The name of the game is rejection. No wonder we who write have the hides of rhinoceri. Well, that’s what Oil of Overcome is for. You slather it on and keep on writing.
Let the Terminator beat that.
Which leaves me with a question: Have you ever been temped to give up and throw your manuscript against a wall—but didn’t? Why not?
Jean Harrington is the author of the award-winning Murders by Design Series. The tongue-in-cheek, Naples-set stories are available here: