by Anna Sugden
Yes, I did mean it that way around!
Those of us who watch sports have seen it happen all-too-often. That game-winning goal scored as time runs out. That bloop in the 10th inning that results in a run. That horse who comes from nowhere to win it by a nose. When it’s the play-offs, a championship or a title race, and the stakes and tension are high, the agony and ecstasy are extreme
Suddenly, supporters and players split into two camps. Those who celebrate the glory of success and those who are plunged into the shock and misery of defeat. How often do we see the tearful faces of the losing fans - still unable to believe that victory has slipped from their team’s grasp? And how often do we see the men and women who play on through injury and pain, unable to stem the tears or sitting in stunned silence, head bowed.
For those of us who write, it happens all-too-often too. The ‘East German’ judge whose insane score prevents your manuscript from finalling in that crucial contest. The editor who loves your voice and is prepared to buy you, then disappears from the company. The agent who raves about your high concept proposal, then tells you he/she can’t sell it because no-one knows how to market it. And, as several of us Banditas have suffered in recent weeks, the uplifting requests and revisions followed by that depressing rejection.
Even published authors aren’t immune. Tess Gerritsen’s latest paperback release has several chapters missing - worse, in their place is someone else’s work! Late or undelivered promotions, someone more ‘senior’ missing a deadline and taking your launch slot and even a publisher going broke or being bought out, which costs you your contract.
And yet, we battle on. Teams, players and writers. We cry and rant. We relive our tale of vanquishment with friends, partners, family or whoever will listen. We binge on comfort foods and have that extra glass of whatever alcoholic drink is our poison (or is that just me?). We threaten to give up and despair over all wasted blood, sweat and tears we’ve devoted to our project.
Some people do give up. But for most of us, as dawn breaks on a new day, we suck it up and carry on.
I think the best answer is in a great Superbowl ad from a few years ago. It has clips of players and coaches who hadn’t made it to the Big Game, singing “The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow” (yes, of Annie fame). (You can check it out here http://video.aol.com/video-detail/superbowl-xxxviii-commercial/2682993989 i). The strapline is “As of tomorrow, we’re all undefeated.” Or unrejected.
The fire burning within hasn’t faded. The desire to win still races through our veins.
And tomorrow truly is another day.
In the wonderfully supportive world of romance writing, there is a phrase that is often quoted “The only way to guarantee you have no chance of getting published is not to submit.” You’re encouraged to keep going. To revise or write another book. To submit to a different group of editors and agents. To enter other contests and go to conferences.
To keep throwing those pucks at the net, in the hope that one of them will go in and be the game-winning, Cup-winning goal.
Rejection hurts. But we need to be able to move beyond it. Learn from it. Use it to fire up our determination to succeed.
Cry, whine, sulk, eat chocolate, drink. Get it out of your system. Then tomorrow, get back to the game of writing and submitting.
Because tomorrow is another day. A day in which we are all unrejected.
So what do you do to get through the pain of loss or rejection? Whose shoulder do you cry on? And what is your favourite comfort binge?