Jennifer Hillier

Humble pie

Nov 16, 2009 | Uncategorized

Any day that I wake up with no rejections in my inbox is a good day.

I’m starting to forget what it’s like to not be scared of my email.

I don’t think I realized how much the rejections would bother me.  It’s true, they really only sting for a moment.  But the thing is, they build.  It’s like eating a spicy chicken wing that you think you can handle at first, but by the tenth one, you’re frigging dying.

And if rejections were chicken wings, I’ve only eaten six.  The rate I’m going, I don’t think I’ll be able to finish what’s on my plate.  My mouth is on fire and my stomach is starting to hurt.

The rejections are chipping away at what little self-esteem I have.   Maybe after three or five or eight more books I’ll be desensitized to them, but right now, I’m feeling every one. I seem to lack the ability to file them away in a metaphoric box and move forward with my day. I have no doubt that a more seasoned writer could do this. I, unfortunately, cannot.

I have lost my ability to compartmentalize.

Every rejection is like a little piece of my Dream Pie being eaten. I only have so many slices to go until there won’t be any Dream Pie left. S o okay, I’m already baking the next one, and hopefully there’ll be several more after that, but let’s be honest.  The number of pies I’m capable of baking is finite.  The day will come when I won’t want to bake anymore.  Or I’ll run out of ingredients.  Or I’ll forget the recipe.

(All right, all right.  Enough with the food analogies.  I must be hungry.)

I guess the reality of this whole endeavor is finally hitting me.  I can no longer hide behind the joy of writing just for writing.  Now I’m trying to get published, and somehow, everything about writing now seems different.

I’m used to being judged as a person.  But to the Agent sitting at his desk reading his emails or opening his mail, I’m a query letter.  I’m five or ten or twenty sample pages.  I’m a Yes or a No.  And it doesn’t matter how charming I am or how cute my smile is or how funny I might be in person… if my words don’t slay him, he’s rejecting me and getting on with his day without a second thought.

It’s very, very humbling.

And for the last three weeks, all I’ve been able to think is:  I can’t believe this is my life.