Thanks for the Rejections

To build on V’s theme, it takes a village to write a book.  No writer who pours their heart into a novel can take sole credit.   So in honor of Thanksgiving, I give you my personal list of people who might otherwise be forgotten; the people who might not make it to the acknowledgments page, but who are no less deserving of my thanks.

1.       To the agents who rejected my manuscript:  Thank you for taking the time to consider my work and for recognizing that you would not be the best advocate for it; for pointing out where the manuscript still needed work; for offering feedback that helped me improve; for helping me revise and hone it enough to find the agent who was right for me.  Thank you.

2.       To my fellow writers who I’ve never met:  Thank you for sharing your experiences and support with someone you’ve never heard of; thank you for posting your advice on Verla Kay and blog posts; thank you for asking questions that I was afraid to; thank you for writing books that moved and inspired me.  Thank you.

3.       To the teacher who allowed me to write and produce a puppet show in the third grade:  Thank you for indulging my creative impulses and helping me find an outlet for them. 

4.        To the agents, editors and authors who donated manuscript critiques to charity auctions, contests or conferences: Thank you for giving me objective and constructive feedback on my writing; for helping me recognize my strengths and weaknesses; and for encouraging me to keep writing.  Thank you.

5.       To the non-writing friends who never failed to ask about my books:  Thank you for listening to me drone on about resolving character arcs, submitting the manuscript and the young adult market, while still managing to project some level of interest.  And then inviting me to dinner again. Thank you.

6.       To my beta readers:  Thank you for reading early drafts that were not ready for primetime; for offering comments and helping me see the things I am too close to see.  Thank you.

7.       To the coworkers in my day-career:  Thank you for viewing my writing as a positive; for celebrating my successes with me and supporting my efforts to get published while trusting my ability to balance my career.  Thank you.

8.        To the girl who read a short story I wrote for a creative writing class in college when her roommate brought it home from our class one day:  Thank you for telling your roommate that you loved my story and wanted to know what happened next.  He passed your comment on to me, and it’s stayed with me ever since.  Whenever I feel doubt, I remember that there’s someone out there who’s waiting for me to write the next page.  I don’t even know who you are, but I thank you.

9.       To the publisher that rejected my unsolicited query in 1992 for a book that was not even finished and was poorly conceived.  Thank God you did not ask to see it or worse yet, agree to publish it.  Thank you.

10.    To the companies that hired me to write video scripts right out of college:  Thank you for teaching me how to write realistic dialogue; to think visually and to know it was possible to be paid for writing.  Yes, this includes you Uncle Craig.  Thank you.

11.    To my 40th birthday.  Thank you for the kick in the butt I needed to write the novel I’ve been promising myself I would write for twenty years.  

Who are some of the not-forgotten people you want to thank?

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