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Are You a Writer Who Just Got Rejected? Here’s What to Do

If you’re a writer, then you probably have at least two voices in your head, one in each ear. One voice tells you that what you’re writing is the best thing ever, the next Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Hunger Games. The other voice tells you that you’re a terrible writer and you should just give up.

You suck down those fears and put a smile on your face. You’re a writer, and you have a short story of a novel or maybe you even have both. You submit your work and sit back.

 

 

 

“No, thanks.”

It’s a stab in the gut, and the ‘thanks’ only adds salt to the wound. You suck it up and submit again. Maybe this time you’ll submit to a smaller agency, a tinier magazine. You hit send:

“No, thanks.”

Now what?

 

The Gotham Writers Conference

Image Via Twitter

 

Thanks to The Gotham Writers Conference, we at Bookstr were able to listen in on a lecture given by Kim Laio, author of the essay published on Lit Hub Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year. Since everyone had a paper and pen, she had the listeners in the audience go through two different exercises. The first exercise was as follows:

 

  • Writer down your hopes and dreams as a writer

 

After telling everyone to do this, the room was filled with a long contemplative silence filled only with the soft scribbling of pens and the soft groaning rattles of the radiator. When everyone’s pens were done, and after some time after that, Kim Liao said this:

Now skip a line. Protect your hopes and dreams.

After giving us a clear warning that her next two directions were “worse” then she first direction, she gave us the second:

  • Answer what’s stopping you from achieving those dreams

And then the third:

  • What’s underling these anxieties?

 

Kim Liao

Image Via Twitter

 

She then turned to the audience, asking them what they answered. Don’t fret, the only people who answered were those who raised their hands and were given the microphone. One person told us a story about how they were writing a book about a “terrible cult” and the effects their actions brought upon their family.

A book about cults? Count me in!

She then said she hadn’t told anyone about the book for the longest time because, well, there was a certain personal conflict with the book.

What was the person problem? Her brother.

Her brother was a member of the cult. He left the cult, but became an apologist for the cult.

It was only after this person was able to tell her brother about the book and give him it that she was able to move on. She doesn’t know if he read the book, if he was angry or upset, but he had the book and it was out of her hands.

 

 

This story is about the third direction Kim Liao gave us: What’s underling these anxieties?  Turns out the most common reason for anxieties about your hopes and dreams about becoming a writer is this daunting question, “What will happen if you tell the truth?”

See, if you’re a writer, then you probably have at least two voices in your head, one in each ear. One voice tells you that what you’re writing is the best thing ever, the next Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Hunger Games. The other voice tells you that you’re a terrible writer and you should kill yourself.

Both of these voices are toxic.

 

Fiction is the truth inside the lie

Image Via QuoteHD.com

 

Fiction, non-fiction, they all deal with truths. Even if the book takes place on another planet or another dimension, there is always a person connection the writer has with the work. It came from them, and now it’s out there on a bone writer paper written in black ink. It’s literally out there in black and white, and most often we are afraid to show it because of fear.

That right there is a personal rejection. No one has rejected the story except you. If you’re thinking about your worst review, as one person at the conference was, stop that. Any craft, be it writing or construction or electric or running, gets better as you do it more and more. So keep it, and silence the voice that tells you you’re a terrible writer and know that the story you are telling is one that only you could tell.

 

Sit Back

Image Via PlayMelnc

 

Now sit back. Remember that voice that tell you you’re writing is the best thing ever, the next Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Hunger Games? Bring down your expectations. Humble yourself.

 

Image result for humble yourself advice
Image Via PInterest

 

Even the authors of those books didn’t know they were writing something as huge as those. Heck, I’d bet George R R Martin has days where he’d wish Game of Thrones wasn’t as big as it was so the pressure would be off as he finished up Winds of Winter.

Tamper your arrogance, erase your fears

Now you’re ready to submit. Then you get a rejection. And then another one. And then another one after that.

So what do you do?

Well, what do you think that Kim Laio, author of the essay published on Lit Hub Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year is going to tell you?

 

Kim Liao

Image Via Girl Meets Fornosa

 

Get 100 rejections of year

This is how you do that:

  • Set up an excel spreadsheet
  • Set up one column for the number
  • Set up one column for the story
  • Set up one column for the publishing house/agent

 

Don’t worry, we understand. One-hundred rejections a year? A hundred times of people stabbing you in the gut with that “No, thanks,” as though the ‘thanks’ at the end of that sentence means anything? No, thanks, you go, but don’t reject me now!

According to Kim Liao, she heard this advice from a friend and thought it was the “best advice ever.” By collecting a hundred rejections a year, you’re making it yourself mission. Your goal now isn’t to get published, but to wrap up the rejection list. When you get a rejection now, you can now log it into the spreadsheet and get that rush of a dopamine because you’re productive. That rush, that split second happiness, makes you feel motivated to go and put yourself out there again.

It isn’t about collecting those rejections slips so you know who to stick it to when you make a ton of money, that’s not why Stephen King collected his rejection slips, it’s to give yourself a goal, to turn your disappoint into a mission to keep going and wrap up the rejection list. You’re accepting that you’re going to get rejected and now you’re striving to do so. Odds are at least one person will accept your story. Plus, if you want to be a writer, you have to get used to it.

 “For a writer, it’s mostly rejections.”

 

Image Via Writer’s Digest

 

Rejections aren’t all bad. Remember: “The door isn’t closing, the path if shifting.”

Rejections can create relationships. Your expert query letter may prove that while the agent isn’t interested in your current work, he/she might be interested in your work as a writer. They might ask to see something else or, worst case, they now know your name. Your name is out there, like a plane traveling across the beach, and you never know who might see your banner.

At this point in the conference, Kim Liao gave us the audience a second set of direction. With pens and notebooks at the ready, the silence was palpable. These are the sets in full:

  • List 5 or more things you can do in the next year
  • List 4 things you can do in the next 6 months
  • List 3 things you can do in the next 2 months
  • List 2 things you can do this month
  • List 1 things you can do this week

So what’re you waiting for?

 

Twitter

Image Via Author Media

 

Go on Twitter and search for submission calls. Look for agents and editors, most agents and editors post their emails on their Twitter.

 

Image Via Webnode

 

Maybe you should set up a blog; just remember to “write lots of posts in advance.”

 

Image Via Self-Publishing School

 

Set up a writing schedule. A writing schedule isn’t necessary just writing. Put time aside for pitching, writing, and querying. All three of these things have to do with writing, and you have to set time aside for each.

 

 

Before you query, take a step back and look at your writing. “Whenever you feel that you’re ready, take a week,” and remember that “[y]our writer’s group can help you solve your problems…not your agent.”

 

You can only query one agent with one project at a time. If you go back and make changes, odd are that agent doesn’t want to hear about that project anymore.

 

When you’re ready to submit your work, set up the excel spreadsheet and aim to get a hundred rejections a year. Rejection is a “necessary step,” in the writing process. “It can happen anywhere,” even to the most successful writer.

But keep writing and keep submitting. If you get a rejection, and then another one, and then another one after that, then guess what? You have only three rejections and need ninety-seven more to finish out your list! Odds are you’re going to be surprised because the best thing you write might be the thing people like the best.

And don’t forget: if you’re writing a novel and you go “Now I have an agent! I’m done,” then you’re wrong. You haven’t even gotten started yet, but you’re ready.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via

Economists Agree, ‘Our Economy Needs More English Majors’

According to The Washington Post, fewer people are majoring in English than ever before, despite the fact that enrollment in higher education is at an all-time high.

 

 

This is likely the result of the United States’ turbulent economy, and a rising need for job security. Right now, more people are choosing to study STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), for the sake of a career path. More often than not, people believe that studying STEM leads directly to getting a good job more often than studying anything related to the humanities. Or, at the very least, college students fear the idea of a useless, $40,000 degree.

 

Image result for Robert Shiller
Image Via Town Hall Seattle

 

However, Robert Shiller, economist, author, and Nobel Prize winner, believes that English majors are more necessary to our struggling economy than ever before. In his new work, Narrative Economics, Shiller argues that the ways people talk about markets, and the stories we write about them, can have a huge impact on markets themselves.

 

 

For example, Shiller cites the phrase “anyone can be a homeowner” as a key contributor to the housing bubble. He writes:

“Traditional economic approaches fail to examine the role of public beliefs in major economic events – that is, narrative. Economists can best advance their science by developing and incorporating into it the art of narrative economics.”

The Washington Post cites several other economists with opinions similar to Shiller’s, but the most damning evidence comes from The National Center for Education Statistics. Data from this source shows that while a computer science major might make more money than an English major directly after graduation, English majors ages 25 to 29 had a lower unemployment rate than both math and computer science majors in 2017.

 

Image via ClickUp

 

On top of this, English majors tend to have skills that are less affected by the passage of time, than those who major in anything related to science or technology. The Washington Post’s Heather Long explains:

“After about a decade, STEM majors start exiting their job fields as their skills are no longer the latest and greatest. In contrast, many humanities majors work their way to high-earning management positions. By middle age, average pay looks very similar across many majors.”

 

Image via Inside Higher Ed

 

So, feel free to show your dad this article the next time he complains about your degree in medieval literature. You’ll be grateful for it in your forties!

 

 

 

Featured Image via Medibank

‘Star Wars’ Terminology Added to Oxford English Dictionary

In recent years, the Oxford English Dictionary has been the center of of linguistic controversy, due to their unconventional additions to the compendium. For example, in 2015 the OED announced that the recipient of their coveted ‘Word of The Year’ title was the ‘Face With Tears of Joy’ emoji.

 

Image via CNN

 

Oxford stated that the emoji was chosen, because it was the ‘word’ that “best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015,” though it wasn’t met without opposition.

 

 

Today’s controversy, however, is being received much more positively. OED released a list of all the new words being added to the dictionary in the month of October, several of which were terms plucked straight from the Star Wars universe.

 

Image via International Business Times

 

Some of the words added only have definitions relating to their Star Wars context, like the word ‘lightsabre.’ The formal definition now attributed to lightsabre is “in the fictional universe of the Star Wars films: a weapon resembling a sword, but having a destructive beam of light in place of a blade.”

The term Padawan is now defined as “an apprentice Jedi,” and Jedi is defined as “a member of an order of heroic, skilled warrior monks who are able to harness the mystical power of the Force.”

 

 

The word ‘force’ itself has also been updated. While the known definitions remain, the term now has another definition, one that reads “a mystical universal energy field.”

Alongside this Star Wars lingo, several sexual terms have been added as well, so use caution if you plan to browse OED’s list of new terms while at work. But, do feel free to call the interns in your office Padawans in all your emails. No one can stop you now!

 

 

 

Featured image via Reddit

Toddlers May Connect with Physical Books More Than Tablets

E-books are one of the biggest changes to ever come to the publishing industry. They’ve revolutionized reading, whether you’re doing it on your commute to work or reading a good night story to your kids before bed. However, a recent study suggests parents should opt for physical books when reading to their kids at night.

 

image via jama pediatrics

 

A new study published in JAMA pediatrics found that toddlers seem to be more focused and engaged when their parents read to them from physical books instead of e-books.

 

 

Whoa whoa whoa, before you go and throw out your Kindle it might help to get some context. The study examines how toddlers behave when their parents read to them in different circumstances, and it found that “intrusive behaviors” and “solitary body posture” occurs more frequently when there’s a tablet involved. Basically, that means that when children were reading an e-book along with their parents, they were more likely to position themselves as if they were just reading alone.

 

image via momjunction

 

Some of the findings might have to do with how the parents read as well. When parents read from tablets, “their language use may not be as potent,” said Dr. Tiffany Munzer, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician who led the study. “With a print book, parents feel they can cozy up with their kids and make the story come alive”.

Speaking about the results of the study, Dr. Munzer said, “it may be that when parents and toddlers engage over a tablet, it might be harder for them to have moments of connection.”

 

 

Featured image via NAEYC