Hope can be so fragile for writers

Longtime readers will know that I’ve actively been trying to get some of my YA manuscripts published. Right now I have a YA paranormal fantasy out with some literary agents and publishers, and a gritty YA out with some publishers. And meanwhile I’m working on a middle-grade magic fiction manuscript.

Some days it’s so hard to hold on to hope–having been through so many rejection letters (though nice, personalized ones, even asking me to send other work or keep them in mind for the future–but rejection letters, just the same) so every bit of “potentially, maybe yes” leads to a shot of hope. I just had that happen yesterday–an editor from a publishing house requested my complete YA paranormal manuscript.

Now, I know that doesn’t mean anything for sure. I’ve had too many near misses not to know that–and it’s been such a long trek so far. But it was a lovely email to receive, and gives me something to hope for. My manuscript is also out with some literary agents, so I’m hanging on to that, as well. But I wish I could just fast forward to the acceptance. 🙂

Hope feels so fragile sometimes, in the publishing world. Whether an editor or agent likes your manuscript is so subjective. They can be having a bad day when your query lands on their desk or in box. Or the subject matter might be something that turns them off or touches something they don’t want to look at. Of course, it also matters that you have quality writing, that the agent or editor think your work is marketable, that your work speaks to them.

Writing is one of the only professions I know of where you can work hard for years without any promise that you’ll get payment or recognition for your work. And then there are rejections to face, the isolation of long hours working alone, and the sliding into self-criticism, temporarily hating your work, or depression that so many writers and creative people seem ato fall into from time to time. So a community of writers–whether in person or online–is really important. Other writers, especially, understand the highs and lows, the isolation of writing, the long years of hoping and losing hope and hoping again before publication. For me, being part of a community of writers is essential to my well being as a writer–as well as furthering my writing craft and technique. I’m thankful for both my online and in-person writing communities. And I’ve been reminded, lately, to keep hold of my hope, but to keep writing and submitting my writing, too. So I duck my head back down, keep writing, and hold onto my fluttering hope.

About Cheryl Rainfield

I write the books I needed and couldn't find as a teen. I write teen fiction--paranormal fantasy and gritty realistic fiction. I'm the author of SCARS (WestSide Books, 2010) #1 ALA QuickPicks, and Governor General Literary Award Finalist, HUNTED (WestSide Books, Oct 2011), STAINED (Harcourt, 2013), The Last Dragon (HIP Books, Sept 2009), and Walking Both Sides (HIP Books, 2011). I also enjoy drawing, surfing the web, connecting with people I like, doing crafts, and being with my dog.
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2 Responses to Hope can be so fragile for writers

  1. Madison says:

    Writing is definately not for the faint of heart, I can tell you that. My largest dream is to be published, but all my query letters are rejected. Oh, well. For me, it’s more so writing a story than getting it published. Publishing’s a bonus that may or may not happen. Either way, I can’t stop.
    Unfortuantely, this is a business that never gets easy, no matter how much you get published or how many contests you win. You can’t let go of that hope, no matter what. So, hang in there! Keep submitting and believing in your work. I’ve said this before…if you believe in your work and are proud of it, then it doesn’t matter if it gets published or not, because if you love it then you’ve already won! 🙂

  2. Cheryl says:

    Thanks for your comments and encouragement, Madison.

    Yes, it takes courage to write, and to keep going. A friend recently reminded me that the difference between a published writer and an unpublished one is that the published writer didn’t give up; they kept submitting. So that’s something to take to heart.

    I’m glad you can’t stop writing–that means it’s in your blood. Like it is for me. Essential.

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