Thursday, December 31, 2009

Writing with the Wizard

There were not many books with Kansas settings or heroes when I was growing up. One of the first books I remember my mother reading to me was Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz. I found the story thrilling as Mother read a chapter or two a day before naptime; I could hardly wait for the next installment. When the Judy Garland version of the book was first shown on television years ago, my mother made watching the movie a special treat. We stayed up late, had saltines and milk for a snack, and curled up on the couch watching the movie together. I remember the flying monkeys scared the dickens out of me!

It turned out that The Wizard of Oz was a good lesson and preparation for the writing life. Any writer needs courage to take on such an endeavor as writing. A writer throws herself into the piece, producing the best product possible and then has to have courage to face editors who fail to see its value. She must have a heart to keep trying when it seems everyone gets into see the Wizard (read Editor) but her. That same heart makes her try again and again with more and more markets. When an editor rejects her wonderful, heartfelt efforts, the writer must not allow rust to set in from her tears of disappointment; she must keep herself well oiled and working.

Yesterday, to end this year, I got two rejections. Two in one day makes it harder to deal with at the time. It makes the stretch since the last acceptance seem extra long. It makes the near misses not count for much either. I went to my writing journal and counted the sales, the maybes, and the rejections. My numbers clearly said I was not getting in to see the Wizard as many times as I was traveling down the Yellow Brick Road!

But I heard Dorothy’s chipper voice and Toto’s little enthusiastic bark urging me on. I melted the Wicked Witch of Doubt with belief and I vowed I will write again in 2010. Now if those darn Flying Monkeys will just stop battering my confidence and leave me alone!

Happy New Year!


Susan Macatee said...

I collected many rejections over the years before I got my first acceptance. But that didn't mean I was done with rejections. I collected a few more after that--although these were rejections with an option to revise and submit again. I did earn acceptances with all but one of those projects. I chose not to revise that one, but instead wroter a whole new story. Still working on that one.

But nothing's automatic in this business.

Anonymous said...

Claudia, don't let the rejections get you down! It's just par for the course in this biz and we all go through it. What's important is that you're brave enough to put yourself out there! A real failure is someone who doesn't even try. So keep your chin about ya and believe in yourself and your talent! :)


Mary Malcolm said...

Rejection sucks. I just wanted to put that out there. Yes, we as authors have to keep trying and have to keep submitting and hoping that what we're offering is what the editor of the month has been dreaming about, but at the same time, when it isn't, it sucks.

I have a critique group I belong to with several very prolific, very well published authors. And what stinks is that they face rejection as well.

It's made me realize something very important. Writing isn't about getting published. If you truly love to write, you write. If the only goal is to be published, those rejections will stop you dead in your tracks.

It sounds to me like you are a true writer, and I think you have a long writing career ahead. I wish you luck. As for the editors? Phooey on them.

Shirley said...

Well said, Mary. Rejections do suck. I love going back and looking at some famous author rejections from time to time. To see where they are now because they didn't give up is inspiring!

irishoma said...

Hi Claudia,

Your post is excellent! The way you related the characters in The Wizard of Oz to writing is inspired--and inspiring! Those flying monkeys scared me, too.

Getting a rejection shows that you are writing and submitting, and it will make the acceptances you receive all the sweeter.

Happy 2010!