cheap black pens

Jan 02 2013

Au revoir, Tumblr

I’m retiring cheapblackpens, both on Tumblr and Twitter. I will now be posting over on Wordpress at www.erinmjustice.com. One of of my professional goals for 2013 is to focus more on my writing and writing career; to support those efforts, I’m going to be doing more self-promoting and marketing. I’m also going to be uniting a lot of my content into one area and incorporating the more literary aspects of my life (reading, writing, and blogging about both) with the more personal aspects that I haven’t discussed in this forum. So, come on over!

1 note  /  

Jan 01 2013

2012 Reading Challenges: Final Progress Report

Just for Fun — COMPLETED!
Around the Stack — COMPLETED!
South Asian — COMPLETED!
Twilight — COMPLETED!
European — COMPLETED!
Southern Literature — COMPLETED!
Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic — COMPLETED!
Off the Shelf — COMPLETED!
Audio Book — COMPLETED!
What’s in a Name — COMPLETED!
Mount TBR — CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF LITERARY HUSTLE
Tea & Books — COMPLETED!
Game of Thrones — COMPLETED!
Outdo Yourself — COMPLETED!
Shakespeare — CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF LITERARY HUSTLE
Back to Classics — CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF LITERARY HUSTLE
Gender in Fantasy & Scifi — CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF LITERARY HUSTLE
New Author — COMPLETED!
Local Library 
— CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF LITERARY HUSTLE

Overall Reading Challenges
10/16+

  /  

Nov 27 2012

Best of 2012: So Far

There’s a lovely Book Riot post today asking for readers’ top three 2012 books. I wanted to participate and offer my favorites to be part of the inevitable vote. After reviewing my Goodreads progress, I just can’t decide! Here are my favorites, in order of when I read them this year:

Running the Rift
The Testament of Jessie Lamb
Gone Girl
Tallula Rising
The Fault in Our Stars
Broken Harbor
Hand Me Down
White Horse
The Empty Glass
The Man from Primrose Lane
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty   

Of course, I’ve yet to read Justin Cronin’s The Twelve, which I’m nearly positive will make my final year-end list. For now, I’ve just got the above. At this point, I’m leaning toward nominating three of these:

Gone Girl
The Fault in Our Stars
Broken Harbor
White Horse
The Man from Primrose Lane
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty  

Decisions, decisions!

2 notes  /  

Nov 20 2012
Every Tuesday, I’ll be posting the opening paragraph (maybe two) of my current read. This week’s book is A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin.
The night was rank with the smell of man. 
The warg stopped beneath a tree and sniffed, his grey-brown fur dappled by shadow. A sigh of piney wind brought the man-scent to him, over fainter smells that spoke of fox and hare, seal and stag, even wolf. Those were man-smells too, the warg knew; the stink of old skins, dead and sour, near drowned beneath the stronger scents of smoke and blood and rot. Only man stripped the skins from other beasts and wore their hides and hair.
Wargs! I love it. The wargs always intrigued me in previous books, and I really wanted to get more of an in-depth peek at them. Starting out the fifth book of the series with such a vivid, sensory experience immediately immerses the reader. Plus, what a great opening line - “The night was rank with the smell of man.” It’s such a brilliant Martin line.
First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a weekly feature hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea. To participate, grab the image and share your selection from the book you’re reading this week!

Every Tuesday, I’ll be posting the opening paragraph (maybe two) of my current read. This week’s book is A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin.

The night was rank with the smell of man. 

The warg stopped beneath a tree and sniffed, his grey-brown fur dappled by shadow. A sigh of piney wind brought the man-scent to him, over fainter smells that spoke of fox and hare, seal and stag, even wolf. Those were man-smells too, the warg knew; the stink of old skins, dead and sour, near drowned beneath the stronger scents of smoke and blood and rot. Only man stripped the skins from other beasts and wore their hides and hair.

Wargs! I love it. The wargs always intrigued me in previous books, and I really wanted to get more of an in-depth peek at them. Starting out the fifth book of the series with such a vivid, sensory experience immediately immerses the reader. Plus, what a great opening line - “The night was rank with the smell of man.” It’s such a brilliant Martin line.

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a weekly feature hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea. To participate, grab the image and share your selection from the book you’re reading this week!

  /  

Nov 02 2012

2012 Reading Challenges: October Progress Report

Just two months left! Let’s see where I am with my 2012 challenges … 

Just for Fun — COMPLETED!
14/12
The Thorn & The Blossom, completed 1/29/12
Pet Semetary, completed 2/8/12
The Dark Rose, completed 4/29/12 (Caught Up in April)
Cain, completed 4/30/12  
‘Salem’s Lot, completed 6/2/12 (Caught Up in June)
Gone Girl, completed 6/17/12 
The Magician King, completed 7/14/12
Tallula Rising, completed 7/21/12
Shadow of Night, completed 8/4/12
Broken Harbor, completed 8/10/12
First Test, completed 9/15/12 
Page, completed 9/16/12
Squire, completed 9/20/12 
Lady Knight, completed 10/4/12 

Around the Stack — COMPLETED!
10/10-15
The Road, completed 1/1/12 (Dystopian)
Deadline, completed 1/6/12 (Horror)
The False Friend, completed 1/12/12 (Mystery)
Twilight, completed 1/15/12 (YA)
South of Broad, completed 1/21/12 (Literary)
The Color Purple, completed 2/4/12 (Classic)
The Kitchen House, completed 2/15/12 (Historical Fiction)
The Last Ember, completed 2/16/12 (Thriller) 
A Discovery of Witches, completed 4/19/12 (Fantasy) 
Falling Together, completed 6/1/12 (Romance)

South Asian — COMPLETED!
5/5
Zombiestan, completed 4/30/12 
Countdown, completed 5/30/12
Falling Together, completed 6/1/12
Contact, completed 7/22/12
Robopocalypse, completed 8/31/12 

Twilight — COMPLETED!
4/4
Twilight, completed 1/15/12
New Moon, completed 3/11/12
Eclipse, completed 3/26/12
Breaking Dawn, completed 3/28/12 

European — COMPLETED!
7/5
The Last Ember, completed 2/16/12 (Italy/Vatican City)
The Poison Tree, completed 2/28/12 (England) 
A Discovery of Witches, completed 4/19/12 (France)  
The Last Werewolf, completed 6/16/12 (Wales) 
The Night Circus, completed 7/3/12 (Germany)
The Fault in Our Stars, completed 7/24/12 (The Netherlands)
White Horse, completed 8/23/12 (Greece) 

Southern Literature — COMPLETED!
8/4
South of Broad, completed 1/21/12
The Peach Keeper, completed 1/24/12
The Color Purple, completed 2/4/12
The Dry Grass of August, completed 6/4/12 
Winter’s Bone, completed 7/7/12
The Rebel Wife, completed 8/11/12
When She Woke, completed 9/14/12 
Hell or High Water, completed 10/26/12 

Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic— COMPLETED!
13/12
The Road, completed 1/1/12
Oryx and Crake, completed 2/21/12 
The Year of the Flood, completed 3/31/12 
The Testament of Jessie Lamb, completed 4/15/12 
Countdown, completed 5/30/12
Blackout, completed 6/9/12
Zone One, completed 8/5/12
Warm Bodies, completed 8/11/12
All These Things I’ve Done, completed 8/21/12
White Horse, completed 8/23/12
Ready Player One, completed 8/28/12
Robopocalypse, completed 8/31/12 
When She Woke, completed 9/14/12 

Off the Shelf— COMPLETED!
6/5
The Road, completed 1/1/12
Twilight, completed 1/15/12
South of Broad, completed 1/21/12
The Color Purple, completed 2/4/12 
The Game of Thrones, completed 5/12/12
Red Mist, completed 10/23/12 

Audio Book— COMPLETED!
25/12
Deadline, completed 1/6/12 
The False Friend, completed 1/12/12
The Peach Keeper, completed 1/24/12
The Weird Sisters, completed 2/2/12
The Kitchen House, completed 2/15/12
A Discovery of Witches, completed 4/19/12 
Zombiestan, completed 4/30/12  
Death Comes to Pemberley, completed 6/5/12 
The Last Werewolf, completed 6/16/12 
The Night Circus, completed 7/3/12
Winter’s Bone, completed 7/7/12
Contact, completed 7/22/12
The Fault in Our Stars, completed 7/24/12
The Rebel Wife, completed 8/11/12
Hand Me Down, completed 8/20/12
Trickster’s Choice, completed 8/31/12 
Trickster’s Queen, completed 9/17/12
The Ice Queen, completed 9/22/12 
Lamb, completed 9/25/12
The Cement Garden, completed 9/27/12
Dear Zoe, completed 10/2/12
The Empty Glass, completed 10/5/12
A Monster Calls, completed 10/9/12
The Man from Primrose Lane, completed 10/17/12
Hell or High Water, completed 10/26/12 

What’s in a Name
5/6
The Peach Keeper, completed 1/24/12 (Purse)
Running the Rift
, completed 1/29/12 (Topographical Feature)
The Kitchen House, completed 2/15/12 (House) 
New Moon, completed 3/11/12 (Sky) 
The Year of the Flood, completed 3/31/12 (Calendar) 

Mount TBR
6/12
The Road, completed 1/1/12
Twilight, completed 1/15/12
South of Broad, completed 1/21/12
The Color Purple, completed 2/4/12 
The Game of Thrones, completed 5/12/12
Red Mist, completed 10/23/12  

Tea & Books
6/8
Breaking Dawn, completed 3/28/12 
The Game of Thrones, completed 5/12/12
A Clash of Kings, completed 5/28/12 
Shadow of Night, completed 7/24/12
A Storm of Swords, completed 9/11/12
A Feast for Crows, completed 10/18/12  

Game of Thrones
4/5
The Game of Thrones, completed 5/12/12
A Clash of Kings, completed 5/28/12  
A Storm of Swords, completed 9/11/12  
A Feast for Crows, completed 10/18/12 

Outdo Yourself— COMPLETED!
72/47
The Road, completed 1/1/12
Deadline, completed 1/6/12 
The False Friend, completed 1/12/12
Twilight, completed 1/15/12
South of Broad, completed 1/21/12
The Peach Keeper, completed 1/24/12
Running the Rift, completed 1/28/12
The Thorn & The Blossom, completed 1/29/12
The Weird Sisters, completed 2/2/12
The Color Purple
, completed 2/4/12
Pet Semetary, completed 2/8/12
The Kitchen House
, completed 2/15/12
The Last Ember, completed 2/16/12
Oryx and Crake, completed 2/21/12
The Poison Tree, completed 2/28/12  
New Moon, completed 3/11/12
Eclipse, completed 3/26/12
Breaking Dawn, completed 3/28/12 
The Year of the Flood, completed 3/31/12
The Gods of Gotham, completed 4/13/12 
The Testament of Jessie Lamb, completed 4/15/12
A Discovery of Witches, completed 4/19/12
The Dark Rose, completed 4/29/12 
Cain, completed 4/30/12 
Zombiestan, completed 4/30/12 
The Game of Thrones, completed 5/12/12
A Clash of Kings, completed 5/28/12
Countdown, completed 5/30/12
The Dry Grass of August, completed 6/4/12 
Death Comes to Pemberley, completed 6/5/12 
Blackout
, completed 6/9/12  
The Last Werewolf, completed 6/16/12 
Gone Girl, completed 6/17/12
The Trojan Women, completed 6/18/12
Herland, completed 6/21/12
Kindred, completed 6/25/12 
The Night Circus, completed 7/3/12
Winter’s Bone, completed 7/7/12
The Magician King, completed 7/14/12
The Artful Edit, completed 7/18/12
Tallula Rising, completed 7/21/12
Contact, completed 7/22/12
The Fault in Our Stars, completed 7/24/12
Shadow of Night, completed 7/24/12
Zone One, completed 8/5/12
Broken Harbor, completed 8/10/12
Warm Bodies
, completed 8/11/12
The Rebel Wife, completed 8/11/12
The Hangman’s Daughter, completed 8/18/12
Hand Me Down, completed 8/20/12
All These Things I’ve Done, completed 8/21/12
White Horse, completed 8/23/12
Ready Player One, completed 8/28/12
Trickster’s Choice, completed 8/31/12 
Robopocalypse
, completed 8/31/12
A Storm of Swords, completed 9/11/12
When She Woke, completed 9/14/12 
First Test, completed 9/15/12 
Page, completed 9/16/12
Trickster’s Queen, completed 9/17/12
Squire, completed 9/20/12 
The Ice Queen, completed 9/22/12  
Lamb, completed 9/25/12
The Cement Garden, completed 9/27/12
Dear Zoe, completed 10/2/12
Lady Knight, completed 10/4/12 
The Empty Glass, completed 10/5/12
A Monster Calls, completed 10/9/12
The Man from Primrose Lane, completed 10/17/12
A Feast for Crows, completed 10/18/12
Red Mist, completed 10/23/12  
Hell or High Water, completed 10/26/12   

Shakespeare
1/12
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, completed 1/22/12
***I am not including A Midsummer Night’s Dream in any other challenges as it was a reread.

Back to Classics
2/9
The Color Purple, completed 2/4/12 (Award) 
The Trojan Women, completed 6/18/12 (Play) 

Gender in Fantasy & Scifi
2/6
Herland, completed 6/21/12
Kindred, completed 6/25/12 

New Author — COMPLETED!
28/15
The Road, completed 1/1/12
The False Friend, completed 1/12/12
Twilight, completed 1/15/12
The Peach Keeper, completed 1/24/12
Running the Rift, completed 1/28/12
The Weird Sisters, completed 2/2/12
The Color Purple, completed 2/4/12
The Kitchen House, completed 2/15/12
The Last Ember, completed 2/16/12
The Poison Tree, completed 2/28/12 
The Gods of Gotham, completed 4/13/12 
The Testament of Jessie Lamb, completed 4/15/12
A Discovery of Witches, completed 4/19/12
Zombiestan, completed 4/30/12
The Game of Thrones, completed 5/12/12
The Dry Grass of August, completed 6/4/12 
Death Comes to Pemberley, completed 6/5/12 
The Last Werewolf, completed 6/16/12 
The Trojan Women, completed 6/18/12
Herland, completed 6/21/12
Kindred, completed 6/25/12
The Night Circus, completed 7/3/12
Winter’s Bone, completed 7/7/12
The Artful Edit, completed 7/18/12
Contact, completed 7/22/12
The Fault in Our Stars, completed 7/24/12
Zone One, completed 8/5/12
Warm Bodies
, completed 8/11/12
The Rebel Wife, completed 8/11/12
The Hangman’s Daughter, completed 8/18/12
Hand Me Down, completed 8/20/12
All These Things I’ve Done, completed 8/21/12
White Horse, completed 8/23/12
Ready Player One, completed 8/28/12
Robopocalypse
, completed 8/31/12  
The Ice Queen, completed 9/22/12   
Lamb, completed 9/25/12
Dear Zoe, completed 10/2/12 
The Empty Glass, completed 10/5/12
A Monster Calls, completed 10/9/12
The Man from Primrose Lane, completed 10/17/12
Hell or High Water, completed 10/26/12 

Reading Challenge
8/16+

Check back in next month for the November results!

  /  

Oct 30 2012
Every Tuesday, I’ll be posting the opening paragraph (maybe two) of my current read. This week’s book is The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell.
Where the Red Willow and Wapiti Rivers merge in the Peace Region of northwestern Alberta, dark green waters tumble and foam around fallen trees and gray sandy islets with white pebble shores. 
Black spruce and aspens are thick on the hillsides, and saplings grow at steep angles on riverbanks and cliffs, the slender boughs straining toward the sun before gravity bends them and snaps them in half.
I love a good descriptive opener. I can immediately visualize the setting, and now I’m drawn in to determine why this place is noteworthy. Is this the scene of a murder? Why is Cornwell taking us here and not one of Kay Scarpetta’s more familiar haunts?
First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a weekly feature hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea. To participate, grab the image and share your selection from the book you’re reading this week!

Every Tuesday, I’ll be posting the opening paragraph (maybe two) of my current read. This week’s book is The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell.

Where the Red Willow and Wapiti Rivers merge in the Peace Region of northwestern Alberta, dark green waters tumble and foam around fallen trees and gray sandy islets with white pebble shores. 

Black spruce and aspens are thick on the hillsides, and saplings grow at steep angles on riverbanks and cliffs, the slender boughs straining toward the sun before gravity bends them and snaps them in half.

I love a good descriptive opener. I can immediately visualize the setting, and now I’m drawn in to determine why this place is noteworthy. Is this the scene of a murder? Why is Cornwell taking us here and not one of Kay Scarpetta’s more familiar haunts?

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a weekly feature hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea. To participate, grab the image and share your selection from the book you’re reading this week!

  /  

Oct 27 2012

37 notes  /  

Oct 24 2012

Conference Chat + Writer Wednesday, 10/24/12 | Lessons Learned from WDCW

I know I normally use these posts to discuss best practices, personal writing-related revelations, and tips. Today I’d like to combine all those areas into a few select insights (courtesy of WDCW). 

"It’s all about opportunity." This was the first note I took at WDCW (check me out with my old school composition notebook!); as I look back on the conference events, this sentiment rings true. Writing and publishing are about opportunity. For some writers, it may be about opportunities that arise from an encounter with an agent. For others, it may be an opportunity that inspires a different view of the true crime research you’re doing. For me, it’s about the imagination’s opportunity to test boundaries and explore new worlds.


"There is no book in your mind." In other words, ideas are totally great - but until it’s on the page, it’s not real. It’s a nice little kick in the pants to really get you motivated.

Be a diverse writer. Different skill sets and genres can keep you fresh and unpredictable. That may not appeal to everyone (authors and readers alike), but being able to master multiple areas of author expertise is definitely one of my goals.


Marketing is your friend. Writers have business cards now? What? You aspiring novelists are making me look bad! Seriously, though, this was my first big conference - I’ve attended workshops, online events, and regional conferences, but never something so networking-heavy. In a couple of conversations I was actually shunned because I didn’t have a card to pass over. That seemed a little extreme - most people were really nice, especially when I said I’m in the process of rebranding (which is mostly true; cheapblackpens is my “brand,” it just sucks). Social media will be a big thing for me moving forward, and I hope to do a relaunch late 2012/early 2013.


This isn’t so much a lesson, but it is kind of funny: James Patterson is a character. A couple presenters/panelists had some interesting stories about him/his work. Apparently [note: hearsay forthcoming] he writes his own blurbs - including the preceding tags like “PATTERSON HAS DONE IT AGAIN!” or “PATTERSON PROVES HE IS A MASTER OF SUSPENSE.”


Note: Quotes from Aimee Bender’s opening keynote

  /  

Oct 21 2012

Conference Chat | The Dreaded Pitch Slam, or “Where My Pitches At?”

[Note: Apparently an agent yelled “Where my pitches at?” in the first session. I saw it on Twitter, but did not witness a repeat during my session.]

I’m attending the Writer’s Digest Conference West (WDCW) this weekend in LA, and it’s been a wonderful experience. I’ll post a nice wrap-up later this week, but I wanted to get this post out while my thoughts (and let’s face it, emotions!) were still fresh. 

What made WDCW memorable for me was Pitch Slam, an event where you pitch your manuscript to an agent. Live. In-person. You have ninety seconds to pitch, and they have ninety seconds to ask questions and/or give feedback. As I learned yesterday, there is actually someone keeping time and announcing three minutes have elapsed. As an author,  you want those three minutes to end with a card (or instructions for submitting a query, if the agent doesn’t have a card). At the very least, you may get an opportunity to receive feedback on your pitch or further questions which can help you with other agents.

Prior to Pitch Slam, I attended an online boot camp to help develop my pitch. I’ve never submitted a query letter or pitched my manuscript before, so I wanted some guidance on that aspect. I also read a few blog posts about what to expect: 

They gave me a better idea of what kind of scene I was about to enter, and what I needed to do beforehand to prepare myself. I also reviewed the list of agents appearing, taking note of who was interesting and worthwhile. I went a step further and Googled the agent/agency to get a better idea of who might be a good fit for me. There were three agents that I knew I wanted to see, plus several “I hope I have time” agents on my list.

I wrote my pitch and practiced a few times at home, but I didn’t want to get too comfortable with what I prepared - on the opening night of WDCW, there was a “Pitchcraft” session with additional tips. I made some tweaks to my pitch, then crammed. One trick I used was to outline the main points so I could keep on track and speak comfortably to the key ideas. I didn’t want to sound like I prepared a memorized speech. I videochatted with the fella back home, and he gave me two thumbs up - much better than I what I was doing Thursday night. After that, it was just a waiting game until my session.

A lot of people talk about the “strategy” of pitching. I had one going in, and some elements worked. I can give some general tips on this process:

  1. Do your research. I knew who I wanted to see, and the first three agents I approached were the ones from my list. My pitfall? I’m pitching a genre manuscript, and while an agent’s bio might say they’re drawn to great characters and interesting scenarios, it might mean just from a general fiction perspective. Two of my three picks let me know they didn’t represent fantasy, period. One of them was really kind about it, offering to still give me feedback on my pitch itself. The other was, shall we say, cruel to be kind: she interrupted my pitch, asked for the specific genre, and flat-out told me she did not represent that area. I was on my merry way, but my next pitch generated interest, and a business card. Had I stayed the entire three minutes, I would not have had time to pitch to a fifth agent, or possibly a fourth. 
  2. Pay it forward. It was crowded, busy, and loud. It was hard to find the end of the line for some agents - everything kind of swirled together into a conference room Charybdis. I was searching for an agent’s line at the same time another woman was. She was there before me, but I was able to break through the crowd and get to the end first. I gestured her over and let her get ahead of me since she was “there” before I was. She was appreciative, and we struck up a conversation. She had managed to pitch three other agents already (I was only at two) and we shared some feedback on the ones from our lists. One of my “I hope I have time” agents was reportedly very nice and engaging, so I went to that booth next and landed a card.
  3. Have an open mind. Look, ultimately you’re hoping to generate interest in your work and connect with an agent. Even if your pitch doesn’t work out, you can still get a lot from the experience. One of the agents gave me feedback on my pitch and let me use my three minutes to answer questions - I was so grateful, because I was nervous and I’d like to think she sensed that and gave me an outlet for that energy. It made a world of difference; the next agent I pitched told me to submit something.
  4. Timing is everything. Give yourself options, because the time goes by fast. The first pitch session was apparently packed, and some people had a solid strategy that allowed them to see many agents. Others only saw one or two. I opted for the second session, which was smaller and way easier to navigate. There were a few agents on my “I hope I have time” list, but the lines were long. Just think: if each pitch is three minutes and ten people are in front of you, you just decided to spend a third of your time in line.
  5. Make the most of it. Talk (quietly) to the people in line with you. Network. I bonded with fellow writers and event staff. Trade business cards, if you have them (another lesson learned: have them).
  6. Take chances. There were only a few rounds left in the session, and I had already pitched to four agents; everyone else on my list was closed due to time constraints. I recognized one name from my list - someone from my genre but at the YA level. I wasn’t expecting a card or a request for submission. I just wanted to talk to one last person about my pitch. I gave my pitch and she asked questions. Since there was no one in line behind me (the event was ending soon), she let me stay and asked a couple more. This was probably one of the best parts of the session for me: I got to feel what it was like to not feel any pressure giving my pitch. I got to associate a feeling of tranquility speaking about my manuscript. I can draw on that moving forward. I can also polish my answers to questions that I stumbled answering. I wasn’t surprised when she said it was interesting but not for her. For me, I wasn’t in it for the outcome - I was in it for the experience.
  7. When in doubt, go to your happy place. Breathe deep. Dance to your favorite song in your hotel room beforehand. Have a cup of tea at lunch. Repeat your calming word. Do whatever you need to do prior to (and during, within reason!) the session to relax. 
  8. Smile. 

  /  

Oct 17 2012

Writer Wednesday | Why Rejection Matters

I’m sure we’ve all been there. Whether it is for a job, school, publication, relationship, or whatever, rejection sucks. I’ve been through my share of it, and it doesn’t hurt any less when it happens. I still have those moments where I feel completely pathetic, utterly incompetent, and absolutely unworthy. 

About a year ago, I made a decision to submit my work. And a few months after that, I got the dreaded news: my work was not accepted. 

Rejection sucks, to put it bluntly. I put myself out there, and I was found wanting. If you’re like me, you don’t feel like your work is being rejected - you feel like you are being rejected. You can’t dissociate yourself from the work. 

Normally I would let this eat at me. I would slip into an emotional coma and I would be miserable company. Think lots of self-pitying and moping. The difference now is that I can deal with those emotions a lot faster, and I can use rejection to my advantage.

Unrelated: one of the best things about becoming an adult is that, you know, you grow up.

I still mope a bit, and maybe I’ll even cry [Note: Crying is like, my ultimate emotional release. Sometimes I cry not because I’m sad, but because I have so much stress in my life that I need to physically get it out of me.]. It’s upsetting to pursue something and it not work out. I went for it, right? That’s because I wanted it. When I don’t get something I put time and energy into, I get upset.

And then, ladies and gents, I get over it.

I’m not the greatest at moving on, but I am getting a lot better at it. Instead of lingering over all the things I did wrong or not at all, instead of over-analyzing everything that led up to the rejection, I try to look at how to prevent that from happening again.

I know, I know. I’m a genius. This is a revolutionary concept. Many of you may be rolling your eyes. Those of you that have difficulty with rejection know what I’m talking about here. It’s easier said than done.

Detachment is a hard process. I give myself a little time after that email, phone call, or letter. Depending on the situation, I’ll wait anywhere from twenty-four hours to two weeks. For me, it’s the ache that brings me back. I love writing, and I ache for it. When I feel that ache again, I know I’m ready.

And then I get my ass in gear. I look at what I did from the opposite perspective. I’ll read out loud, or I’ll put myself in the mindset of the reader. When you’re thinking as an author, you may not be as critical as you should be. You may not be asking the hard questions, questions that may seem simple on the surface but have huge ramifications for the plot or characters:

  • Does this make sense?
  • Why did this happen?
  • What did X do before this event? What will (s)he do after?

Thanks to this strategy, I made huge changes to the submitted work. In retrospect, it was not ready. I was too close to the writing to see it, though. And sure, I’d love it if I had not gotten that rejection notice. But I did get it, and it ultimately helped me become a stronger writer.

  /  

Page 1 of 23