Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I’m preparing for my first school visit, which is so totally scary since I am not a huge fan of public speaking. Truthfully? I’d rather crawl into a cave and write forever and not have to do this stuff that, instead of a “writer,” somehow makes me an “author.”

So I’m working on the outline of what I’m going to say (okay, I admit it: I’m writing it out word for word first, and hoping I can memorize most of it) and going through my old files to find evidence of my journey as a writer.

Among the things I have saved over the years is a pile of rejection letters. A Pile. Rejection letters for poems, and short romantic stories; kid’s books and short stories; rejections from magazines and agents and publishing houses. . . . Rejections from the first YA novel I ever wrote, and yes, rejections of One Wish.

I mean, I don’t want to count or anything . . . but there is a *Stack* of them. (Should’ve gone all Stephen King and stabbed them into a wall with a spike . . . but I digress.)

And so I started reading, and what a flood of memories came rushing back:

“Dear Leigh, While I loved . . . I’m sorry.”

“Dear Author, Due to the amount of submissions we receive there is no way we can possibly. . . .”

“Good luck”

“Best of luck”

“Best Wishes”

They’re all the same; their ultimate purpose to mark me a big, fat REJECT. And it’s not like the detailed ones offer any advice to improve. One house loved the character(s), another didn’t. One thought the plot was great; another thought it was overdone.

I’m saying this because it’s all subjective. What’s not right for one house is a perfect fit for another. What’s not a perfect fit for a house one year will be perfect for it the next. It’s a crazy, mixed-up industry that I’m thrilled to be part of but will never, ever try to figure out. The best thing to do is just keep writing.

“Better luck next time.”

To all you writers, artists, and dreamers out there (my kindred spirits): keep in mind the old saying that “luck” is preparation meets opportunity.

My advice for the day: prepare yourself, keep at it, and the opportunity will present itself. (Though you may have to collect a hefty stack of rejection letters first.)

Hang in there, because one day it’ll happen, and if you work hard and really push yourself, you just might get “lucky.”

Have a great day!




Shana Norris said...

LOL, I always write out my school speeches word for word, then make an outline, then try to memorize both so I can just speak naturally when I'm actually there. I think it really does help!

Great advice, and you're exactly right, it is subjective. What works for one person doesn't work for another. I always tell teens who want to be a writer that it just takes ONE person to say yes and sometimes you don't always find that one person on the first try.

Good luck with the school visit! I don't like public speaking either, but I've found school visits to actually be pretty enjoyable once I get past the nervousness. I prefer talking to teens over adults. ;) I've found that they love it if you have a big stack of rejection letters to show them! My stack always gets comments and gasps from the teens. And if you have time for a question and answer session, they'll usually ask a lot of great questions. :)

Leigh Brescia said...

Thanks, Shana!

I'm kind of an excited nervous--if that makes sense. I'm taking a bunch of the rejection letters with me and some of the things I wrote when I was a teenager.

I also plan to woo them with candy. :)