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A Great Rejection

I’m a writer. I have a day job to support myself, but deep down in my heart, I am a writer. I’ve published poetry, short stories, essays, and nonfiction narratives. I’ve even had a political cartoon published my school newspaper many years ago. What I’ve yet to publish is a novel.

I typically attend a handful of writers events each year. This year, most of my events have been cancelled due to COVID-19, but I’m hopeful the fall events will continue as scheduled. I miss my writer buddies.

Last fall, one writers conference, Ozarks Creative Writers Conference, was especially fruitful for me. I placed in a few competitions, winning some money and accolades. I had the immense pleasure of meeting an Ozarks Maven reader, which made my trip incredibly special. I also made two important connections – one with an editor and one with an agent.

I met and hired a wonderful lady to edit my novel on Friday of the conference. I enjoyed visiting with her so much that we’ve become friends. The very next day, I attended a seminar presented by an agent. I liked her and mentioned to my friend sitting next to me that if I ever had an agent, I wanted it to be her.

My friend took this statement and ran with it. She saw the agent standing next the cash bar before dinner, cornered her, and pitched my book. I was shocked she did such a fabulous thing for me. To my great surprise, her pitch worked.

The agent found me and requested my manuscript. I explained that I’d just hired an editor the day before and promised to send my book as soon as it was edited. A few months later, I did that very thing.

I was expecting to wait six months or so before I heard anything from her, but she sent me a lovely email just a couple months after receiving my manuscript. This was not a typical agent to writer email. This email was specific and encouraging.

She told me my book still needed some work, but she liked it. She recommended I study the prose of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Steinbeck. Then she said something that nearly made shed tears of joy. She told me that I’m a good writer, but I could be a great writer with a little more work. She asked me to revise my novel and send it back to her.

Even though my book was rejected this first round, I’m still calling this exchange a success. In fact, this is huge! The fact she took the time to send me a detailed message is rare and precious. Having her believe in me is downright magical. 

I bought some books by the masters the agent recommended and have begun my study. I still have another project that needs completed prior to beginning revisions, but I will be diving back into my novel soon. I have a renewed fire in my belly, and my cup of creativity is quickly filling.

Most writers I know have amassed dozens, if not hundreds, of rejections throughout their careers. Even bestselling authors such as Lori Foster and JK Rowling were rejected multiple times. It’s the perseverance to keep going that got them where they are today. I hope to join them at the top someday.

For now, I strive to learn and improve. I go to work to earn a living and write to achieve my dream.

I encourage each of you to reach for your own stars.

Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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