It has struck me during conversations with non-writers (well they can write, perhaps not necessarily joined up and sometimes with spelling even more imaginative than mine, but they only write out of necessity, shopping lists, thank you letters, twitter etc. People who do not sit and stare at a page or screen and will it to turn into a novel while they watch) that it is possible that I am not taking my rejections seriously enough.
Thus far I have had two rejection letters. Actually they were emails but the message was the same, and I quote from the second. “We’ll pass on this one.” I felt no crashing sense of defeat, not even a momentary whiff of failure passed under my nose. I filed them (it’s the inner organiser in me, even my emails are filed) and moved on.
It would seem that this is quite the wrong response. Apparently I am to be upset that I have been passed over, irritated by the lack of feedback and most certainly not to be downhearted. I am none of these. I am not surprised I have been passed over, it could be because I am crap it could be because I am not what they are looking for/they have enough of my genre/they are having a shit day. Lack of feedback is a bit hard to explain to non-writers who really don’t seem to be able to get their head around this. I never thought I would be the defender of agents but there you go, I never thought I would be living in rural County Durham with three hormonal teenagers, an eclectic menagerie including a psychotic parrot and a very long suffering husband. As for downhearted, this is the oddest one, anyone would think I was dancing on my grandmother’s grave from the response I get to my lack of dismal despair. Perhaps I might be more concerned if I am still in the same position in ten years time. At that point I may have to accept that it is not that I am wrong for the current market but just wrong and that may well induce a certain amount of gloom. But until then I will keep smiling if that’s okay.
Now I have a question – where do you back up? I once lost the first 20,000 words of book one. In fact it was a life saver, although it didn’t seem so at the time. The re-write was infinitely better than the first attempt, it was practically a different book and without the whole thing disappearing down the drain it is highly unlikely I would have had the patience to start again. However, one lesson is quite enough and I have no desire to stare down the abyss of an empty folder and will my work to come back ever again.
After that first disaster I was an obsessive saver, and I saved in multiple places. Consequently I had multiple copies and always failing to copy the right copy to the right folder and I got myself into more of a fankle than I had before. Then I discovered DropBox and now have everything on DropBox and an external hard drive. But is that enough? What do you do? Where do you keep your work to protect if from “file not found”?