Rejection

Big sigh

Twice today I’ve been rejected. I admit, I have really thin skin. I’m tender-hearted and sensitive and definitely should have picked a different kind of career than writing. Aka, putting your heart on paper only for people to use it as a welcome mat for their muddy shoes.

Did I mention I have a flair for the dramatic?

Ok, it’s not as bad as I’m making it out to be. I just naively thought that once I got my book published (you know what’s coming: shameless plug. You can purchase My Pink Champagne Life here and here) the rejection would end for a bit. 

Wrong.

Not all books are meant for all venues. I totally get that. Within my niche I have been trying to get the word out. Talking to my contacts, using social media, begging my friends to buy my books. My little snowball is starting to have some momentum. And I’m totally excited about that-I have five events scheduled. Five! Me!

As an unknown author, this is the only way to sell books. And until I suddenly morph into John Grisham (Mr. Wonderful would be so disappointed!), or get Oprah to read my book, I’m going to have to win over one reader at a time. I am totally up for this challenge.

Sidebar: this is an exhausting yet exhilarating process. I had no idea what it meant to market your book when I signed the contract with my publisher. Can I just tell you that though I love my day job, I really love this writing gig.

To dispel any rumors, My Pink Champagne Life is not about alcohol. Some of you will stop reading at this point. I’ll holler at you when it’s time to time back in. It is about the act of celebration no matter what’s happening: during the good, the bad, the boring. It’s about grace and gratitude. About my crazy traveling circus of four kids, my mid-life love and subsequent marriage, what it was like to be a single mom, adoption, and how God has been with me. Every step. Even when I didn’t know it or feel it or even acknowledge it.

Within my niche market I got told (nicely and by people I know-I’m not sure if I feel better or worse about that) that my book, the thing I poured my heart and soul into for three years and then took another year to publish, wasn’t good enough right for their audience. Maybe I’m reading into it a bit. It’s possible I’m reading into it a lot.

And those two rejections opened up a crack in my mental door for every critcal thought and negative, self-conscious flaying I’ve ever given myself. Who are you to write a book? Look at all the time you’ve wasted! Who on earth would read such drivel?

Mr. Wonderful stopped me in my tracks when I confessed what was going on inside my head. He did his usual propping up of me and my sagging little spirit. And then he prayed. Just a quick prayer and he probably didn’t think another thing about it. But in that moment to have my man acknowledge my insecurities and then to take my hand and take a moment was extraordinary for me. 

Everything isn’t magically cured. I still want people to like me and think my book is exactly the kind of encouragement they need. I’m sure I’ll still have doubts and crazy thoughts-I’m still me after all. But I know that I can’t keep doing the right things over and over without getting good results. 

Ok, time to come back, I’m bringing it home. Tomorrow is a new day, and I’ll tell a few more people about this book I wrote. Some will like it, some won’t, and that will hurt my feelings. But it’s another chance to enlarge the snowball, and share this little dream with others. I will follow my own encouragement and remember to celebrate.

Even if I get rejected.

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

How I Accidentally Wrote a Book

So I’ve always been a lover and writer of words. Not necessarily for public consumption but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I love telling stories, making people laugh, and generally sharing too much information. 

I’ve secretly dreamed of being a writer since I starting keeping a journal in seventh grade. I started honing my writing skills by describing all the sordid middle school gossip. You know: breakups, makeup, and what we saw written on the bathroom wall at our away basketball game. Real after school special stuff. 

I put writing to the side after kids came on the scene. My time was no longer my own so I used that as a convenient excuse. My job, my friends, my other procrastinations provided acceptable ways out of producing any written words. I still thought about writing but thinking about it didn’t get much done.

Then I was suddenly a single mom and I was just lost. I had no way to process the enormous feelings I felt so I decided it might help if I wrote them down. I bought myself a notebook to jot things down as I could, not even daring to type them out on a computer-that would be too writer-y and real.

And then along came Mr. Wonderful. When we met he was a ballroom dancing inner city mentoring tough Army guy (much more on this in another post, I promise!). He also was a man secure enough in himself and his own contributions to encourage the crap out of me.

I remember the first time I got brave enough just to tell Mr. Wonderful I wrote things down. He immediately said reassuringly that he wanted to read whatever I wanted to show him, whenever I was ready. 

I was not ready.

But the fact that he wanted to read anything at all made me want to keep writing. And writing. And pretty soon, after nearly two decades of missing the thing I loved more than cupcakes but less than God, Mr. Wonderful, and my kids came pouring out.

I had sticky notes everywhere as I had figured out that if I didn’t immediately write a thought down it was lost in the vast jumble of mama thoughts, to do lists, kid noise and job requirements. 

And then I organized them. Me-organizing things! And in a computer no less. I’m barely able to type much less blog, tweet, Facebook, and any the other stuff all the cool kids are doing these days.

When I finally let Mr. Wonderful read something he was genuine. He took the time to tell me what he liked and that he had laughed out loud. He said he would read anything else I let him. He read everything else. 

Mr. Wonderful is actually the one responsible for my book, My Pink Champagne Life (shameless plug: available at http://www.amazon.com and http://www.barnesandnoble.com). He made the suggestion that everything I was writing seemed to be headed towards a book.

A book?!?

Digesting that took awhile, but even so, I wrote. And wrote. And edited and wrote. And cursed. And threw lots of words away in frustration. And wrote. And cried. And threw a few tantrums. But still I wrote.

And I found that the more I wrote, the more my kids gave me to write about and the more I was doing what God had placed as a little seedlet in my heart years ago. And I found that the promises he made to me-that there was a purpose for my pain and that he had a plan for me-were being kept.

I ended up with a book that I sent to a wonderful publishing house that actually wanted to turn my words and years and tears into a book. During this process they have treated me like royalty instead of an unknown writer. I’m ever so grateful to the folks at Tate Publishing for helping turn my dream into a tangible thing I can hold in my hands.

So thank you to all who have made me the accidentally on purpose author.

I owe you.

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015