I received another rejection Friday. This one didn’t hurt as much others, but it did put the brakes on everything concerning my project, because of its source – a respected development editor. Planned rewrites, submissions, confidence and hope evaporated as I tried to decide my next step.
It is always a blow when someone disagrees with your presentation and style. These are elements that cannot be fought or argued.
Yet this type of critique needs to be taken seriously and analyzed. It is a time when the project needs to be examined for its merits and the author to be challenged.
Some artists ignore their critics because a creative drive, obstinate delusion or an inability to listen. Other artists bend and sway to the winds of suggestion and criticism with no concern of where they stand.
There is no right or wrong in standing firm or trying to please, both can be paths to satisfaction.
Publishers and agents are constantly surprised at the public’s choices, which is why there is no formula for a successful artistic endeavor. Van Gough only sold one painting during his lifetime, so being right is not always a success, Or as I recently heard in a movie; “The first one through the wall is usually hurt.”.
All of this information was no help to me. It actually stalled me out even more, not knowing if I was an inspired writer, or a delusional dreamer.
Then, this morning I watched and interview with Charlize Theron. She is an attractive actress, who has experienced some of the most horrific and wonderful times a person could have. In that interview, she said that trying to control the events of one’s life is impossible. This is especially true when working in an artistic, collaborative environment. (Writing might be solitary, publishing is definitely a group effort) .
As I watched her interview, it dawned on me that I need to trust my instincts, not my ego, not my critics, not my dream of making a living as a writer, certainly not the fear that it could take additional years to finish and sell my book.
I don’t know if I heard her say it or I came to the realization – that much of life’s successes and tragedies are not based solely on talent, dedication, loyalty or even intelligence. Much of life is is occurs as a combination of circumstance and timing.
A project can fail today and yet succeed tomorrow depending on the position of all the world’s players. Even individuals and events outside of a specific industry can affect the outcome of an effort.
And so, my day brightened. I still have to decide what to do – rewrite, revise, rip apart, or keep submitting.
My book may succeed or fail not because I’m right or wrong, but because I have the right project at the right time with the right person.
Similar to accidentally turning to Ms. Theron’s interview on an early Sunday morning. Our lives are a stunning combination of accidents, persistence and being present.
So, the only option that will ensure my not getting what I want, is if I stop.
As a result of my mini-epiphany I will revisit my book because, after listening to Ms. Theron’s personal story, she made it clear that we can continue to pursue our dreams… with hope.