Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nobody likes the word No

Who wants to be told No? No one that’s who.  And yet how many times in life do you think we hear that one word? Hundreds of thousands? Millions maybe?
But the bigger question is what do you do when you are told that dreaded word?  What if the word NO comes as an answer to something that you wanted to hear a YES to?  Do you give up? Do you keep trying? And if you do for how long?
These are all questions that everyone everywhere deals with and yet it’s a word that never goes away. 
My most recent “no” really stung.   I received a rejection on my full manuscript from a literary agent.  After hearing that one word, I let myself have a pity party for an hour or two in which I stomped grumpily around the house, fuming that no one in their right mind would turn down my masterpiece.
Once I allowed myself to do that, my mind cleared, allowing me to really consider what this meant.  Obviously something wasn’t working, but what?  What did I need to fix? And darkly in the back of my mind, how many times would I be rejected before I even figured those questions out? And most depressing of all was the question; am I good enough to even do this?
And in the end I my answer was YES to all of the above.   Once I thought about it, I knew there were areas of my manuscript that weren’t working exactly the way I hoped.  It wasn’t the masterpiece I dreamed it would be…but hey it was damn close.  And yes, I was good enough to do this.  I just needed to figure out how to make it work.  Once that was set in my mind, it was like something opened within me. That one word, NO, made me more creative, productive, and motivated to change it to a YES! I’ve even dreamed about how to address issues in my book, the story and characters are constantly on my mind.
Thoughts like how can I handle this better or how can I say that better circle my mind.  The story itself isn’t changing, but now it’s getting smoother.  So needless to say I’m revising like a mad woman and I feel that these changes are exactly what the book needed. In fact, I’m excited about them. That one negative word somehow turned into something positive for me.
I hope everyone reading this blog can have that attitude.  It certainly isn’t an easy thing to do, but luckily I’ve had the support of my husband to back me up.  He’s probably going to kill me for sharing this with you, but he can give up his ‘I’m a macho man’ image for one minute.  When he heard about my rejection, he sent me probably one of the sweetest emails that made me want to be the person he believes me to be.  Strong, Resilient, Dedicated (aka stubborn)

One of the things he said, I hope to remember for the rest of my life because this certainly won’t be the last time I’m told no.
You knew it wasn't going to be an easy or quick job to get published and knowing you the way I do, the harder the challenge the harder you fight. It's one of my favorite things about you except when I'm on the receiving end.”
And if that wasn’t enough to keep me going I just remind myself of the many published authors who were originally given the word no. They didn’t give up and look where they are now…
Kathryn Stockett, THE HELP, told the word no 60 times
J.K. Rowling, HARRY POTTER, told the word no 12 times
Stephenie Meyer, TWILIGHT, told the word no 8 times
Aprilynne Pike, WINGS (bestseller for YA), told the word no close to 100 times


  1. Wish I could be there. Especially that birthday celebration. FUN, FUN, FUN!