Monday, December 20, 2010

I Hate My Life Right Now

Okay, so I was looking through some old email (don't ask), and I saw this subject. I'd written the email to a friend of mine, and this was the message:

Subject: I hate my life right now
Date: 5/18/09

Message: "Okay, so [name of amazing literary agent who just wasn't for me] just rejected my full because of this: "I think your writing style is quite masterful and fluid, but I regret that the pace moved slowly for me and I worried that young readers might not get hooked by the story as quickly or as wholly as they should."

And it's my first full rejection and now all my happy energy is completely gone! Waah!!"

That was the beginning of my querying journey. I had many more fulls rejected after that. I survived.

I am still alive.

And I found my one.

You can too.

It's interesting to me to look back on emails like this and remember that desperation, despair, happiness, and/or elation. At the end of each year, I like to look back and see how far I've come. Sometimes it's farther than I thought. Sometimes, I know I need to do better.

When you look back at the last year, what do you see? Can you see how far you've come?

(And I don't really hate my life right now. I have the next 14 days off work--so it's actually the best day ever.)

Winners!
THE WRITER'S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY by Carolyn Kaufman: Quinn
Bug caricatures by Neil Numberman: Jemi Fraser, Shari, and Natalie Aguirre!

Congrats all! Email me for details, okay? Okay.

72 comments:

Samita (Book Purring) said...

Sometimes I think you should be a motivational speaker Elana :D

Emily White said...

Sometimes I'm shocked to think how far I've come in just this one year. I've written two books where before this year my first few rough drafts would take YEARS to write. And I've started querying. I'd say it's been a spectacular year! Thanks for helping me to remember that, Elana!

Renae said...

It's amazing to see what can happen in one year! Thanks for the reminder Elana!

Annette Lyon said...

Great reminder.

Also, great example of the bizarre emotional see-saw that is the writer. :)

Here's to a "I love my life" 2011!

Ted Cross said...

'Masterful and fluid'. If any agent ever wrote that about me I would know I am on the right track!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I don't do this each year. I do it with book.

I'm with Ted. I'd love to have someone tell me my writing is 'masterful and fluid.' Now that would serioulsy rock!

Elizabeth May said...

It must have been such a hard thing to hear at the time, but I truly think it's wonderful how far you've come in a little over a year. What an inspiring journey you've had, Elana!

Misha said...

I know what you mean.

Last year I thought that I would go insane if something went wrong this year and I had to spend yet another year studying.

Cue: Economics. Last damned exam in my life. Not.

But. I'm still here (mostly) sane. Maybe it's because I lost my mind so long ago that I forgot to look for it.

;-)

IanBontems said...

I keep a writing journal which I try to keep up to date.
I didn't realise it until I went back through the past 12 months, but I have come a helluva long way from where I was. In the time between then and now I've polished and queried my first book, got an agent, gone out on submission and almost finished first draft of second book.

I think the changes can be so gradual or the feelings of the moment so strong, we forget some of the steps we've taken to get this far.

Magan said...

Before I comment...I did get distracted becaue I saw the countdown widget on the side and just went "OH SHINY OBJECT!"

Anywhoo...thanks for posting this e-mail, it really does show how much things can change in a short amount of time! I remember when my first full was rejected I cried so hard and ate any entire box of girl scout cookies. But someday I'll find my agent and then I'll get to write this same post.

Theresa Milstein said...

It wasn't that long ago for you, huh? Life can change in an instant.

A year ago, I had very few followers. Maybe 20 or 30? Now I have nearly 400. So I've made connections and friends I couldn't have imagined then.

A year ago, I made a huge push to get better at grammar and to learn more about plot and all that other important writing stuff. As a result, my writing quality has vastly improved.

A year from now, how lovely to have an agent and maybe a book contact.

Christine Danek said...

I can't believe how much I've learned in a year. I know I have a far way to go, but I'm more conscious of certain things when I write.
I also learned my weaknesses. So, for this coming year, I plan to keep learning and practicing. I hope to query this time next year.
Have a great day!

Sarah said...

The querying process is such a roller coaster, and it's amazing to see how quickly things can change. One week I was commiserating with a friend, wishing I could have a "success story" (which, of course, is just the beginning of the journey), and the next week, I did. Now, on to the next roller coaster ... being on sub. When I'm down, I can read great posts like this and remember that, without those downs, it's harder to appreciate the ups! Thanks!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for reminding us how things can change. I do see progress in my writing over the last year and for that I'm grateful.

Tristi Pinkston said...

So glad you didn't let that rejection keep you from trying again until you succeeded!

Catherine Denton said...

I've learned to take life moment by moment. I've learned to say no. I've written more and received more rejections. I was published in a magazine. I learned to paint.

Saloma Furlong said...

My life is running parallel to yours, with a book coming out in January... I can really relate to this. I lost count of the rejections I got before getting an acceptance email, and then the same day I got a request from a different publisher asking to see the whole MS -- you see I had to ditch all the agents to sell the book.

One of the things I've learned over the past several years is how gratitude and joy are one in the same... whenever I feel grateful for something, I also feel joy.

I love my life right now!

Saloma

TerryLynnJohnson said...

love that you shared your rejection letter here. Great reminder that it only takes one.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Whew. I'm glad you qualified that and that you don't hate your life right now. It would totally suck to hate your life around the holidays.

When I look back over the past year, I don't see much in the way of writing accomplishments I can jump up and down about. It was a slow year spent mainly re-writing one manuscript several times. I guess I learned a lot from that, though.

Angela Felsted said...

Congratulations winners! It's always nice to be reminded to thin of how far we've come. It's a more realistic measuring stick than comparing yourself to other people. Thanks for the post.

Jamie Grey said...

Your posts always inspire me just when I need it :) It's always amazing to look back and see just where you've come from and where you're going. And how much life changes when you least expect it!

Have a great two weeks off! I'm off next week and I cannot wait :)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I used to do an end of the year Christmas letter where I sort of summed up the year. It always amazed me to see the things we accomplished in one year. In that single letter, all the disappointments of a year usually mellowed and sometimes even washed away. Put things into perspective, I guess. But it's good to look back at the sadnesses you've had, too, and to see the ways in which you've recovered from them (or perhaps not). Looking back can help you move forward.

Enjoy your 2 weeks off, chickie!

Nicole Zoltack said...

There are going to be ups and downs but I try to take each day as it comes. I hope for the best, expect the worst, and write whenever I can. Wouldn't have it any other way. :)

And I'm so glad you don't hate your life right now! :)

Lola Sharp said...

First, HAPPY belated BIRTHDAY, Elana. :)

Yay to winter vacation/14 days off! That does not suck. :)

Here's to 2011 being the best year yet!
Love,
Lola

Matthew Rush said...

YAY! You make an excellent point. When I look back on the past year I absolutely cannot believe how far I've come.

Thanks Elana!

storyqueen said...

Woo-hoo for the next 14 days!!!

I fell so light, so free.....

And yes, it has been quite a year for you.

Yay!

Shelley

Marsha Sigman said...

I look back over the last year and I am shocked by how much my life has changed...

My writing is much better than it was a year ago, and now if I could just somehow manage to find about 5 more hours in the day my life would be complete.

Shari said...

Great reminder of how far I've come this year. It's funny, though, how human nature reminds us that it isn't far enough. We need to be grateful for the progress. Glad you didn't give up, 'cause I'm excited for your book!

Patti said...

I guess that's what journals are for, to see how far you've come and evolved.

And like Shari, I'm looking forward to reading your book.

Jen Daiker said...

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we have become more awesome over the years.

It's hard to believe that at the beginning of this year I wasn't even blogging, let alone writing. Now I have written a few drafts and on to a potential book deal.

Rejection is just part of the gig. Good thing we have people on the blog that can help us through the rough patches.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I've come a VERY long way on my blog this past year, and my MS is 100X better than it was a year ago. Now...to find my ONE! :-)

Ghenet said...

I love reading inspirational stories like this. :) I'm glad you were able to find your "one" and I hope to find mine too someday!

I'm jealous of all of your days off! Enjoy them and Happy Holidays!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

More like a long way in the past eight years...
Isn't it funny to read old emails like that?

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Keeping old emails is like maintaining a diary of sorts, isn't it? I keep the old emails from good friends. Some have died, and it is like hearing their voices all over again. Life is so fragile. Enjoy the little things right now. Later they turn out to be bigger than we realized. Merry Christmas, Roland

Sara B. Larson said...

It's amazing how much changes, given enough effort and time, isn't it? Thanks for sharing this.

Andrew Rosenberg said...

Hmm...still working on the same novel...

I actually want to look at my posts from early in the year where I set up goals. Will review them and laugh...

Meredith said...

I hate those low points! But at least you know that there have to be high points to come. Thanks for the reminder!

LTM said...

in the past year, I started to blog and met all of YOU!!! So wow. I've come so far to have such a wonderful support network...

It's also cool to hear your story. Encouraging~

Merry Christmas! :o) <3

Kelly said...

I think people need lows to truly enjoy and appreciate the highs (and the regular days) more. Not too many lows though!
Enjoy your holidays and two weeks off, Elana!!

Colene Murphy said...

Awe what a great story. Well, not the rejection part but the rest. It's nice to hear from someone who made it that they had to face challenges before they made it.

Merry Christmas Elana!

Quinn said...

The other day I was standing in my apartment. It hit me that in the past year I've somehow become an adult ... or at least more settled. I have a steady job. I have my own apartment, which I've furnished. I'm in a serious relationship. I have a new puppy. Somewhere along the past year I've seemed to get my life in order.

With writing, I recently went back and read the book I wrote last year which I thought was good. Well, I sitll think it's good, but now I can notice areas that need improvement and how I've grown as a writer.

And ... Yay! I won!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I put my dreams on hold at the beginning of this year and now I have a lot of catching up to do. But it's great to dream again!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, repsonses like that suck. However, this year has been a wild ride!

Lisa_Gibson said...

As far as the writing aspect of my life, I'm thrilled with how far I've come. Other aspects still need a little work, but I'll get there. :)
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Melissa Gill said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. It's exactly what I needed to hear right now.

Happy Holidays!

Krispy said...

Is it really time to start looking back already? Where did the year go?!

Thanks for sharing that experience. It totally helps put things in perspective, though it being a rejection aside, "masterful and fluid" is quite the compliment! :)

Anne R. Allen said...

Thanks for the inspirational story. I needed one today!

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

I haven't gone as far as I'd hoped I would, but I have come quite a way toward the dream. I will try to be happy with that, and hope that 2011 will take me the rest of the way. :)

Heather said...

You made me tear up, but in a good way! This year was tough for me. I parted ways with my agent when my book didn't sell and he didn't want to see a re-write. It's been a challenge to keep going but I'm confident that I will find the right agent, the one who wants to work with me and help me turn this dream into a career. Thank you for your encouragement!

Julie Musil said...

Wow, what a journey, huh?

I look back on this year as one of extreme growth. If I grow as much next year, then I'm on the right path.

Thanks for a year of inspiration, Elana. I appreciate it!

Elle Strauss said...

This last year produced more than I thought in some ways and less in others..but that's okay, 2011 is just around the corner and the canvas is blank and ready to paint on!

Jennie Englund said...

Inspiring!!!

Bet that rejection just spurred your determination, strengthened your MS.

The Golden Eagle said...

Inspiring, motivational post!

I've made progress this year that I hadn't imagined last year . . . for example, I wasn't even blogging! And my writing--that's come far as well.

Lois D. Brown said...

So here's my story. I'd had a couple fulls rejected, but they'd all been quite positive, so I still thought I had a chance. Finally "the agent" who I wanted requested my full. My daughter and I made a big deal of it, sprinkling pixie dust on my computer before sending the email. A few weeks later she rejected it--with some very positive feedback--but who cares, it was a rejection all the same.

What did I do? I started another novel and haven't queried the other one since. I'll get back on the horse in 2001.

My point it, when you're hating life, sometimes you have to mix things up. Then again, maybe I'm just a quitter.

Lois D. Brown said...

oops. Meant to say I'll get back on the horse in 2011. Freudian slip perhaps?

Jan Markley said...

I remember the intense frustration I felt before getting my publisher. Now, with two novels on my shelf with my name on them! and another one a work in progress (yes, must finish novel!), it's all good. Hang in there writers!

erica and christy said...

Thanks for sharing that! It's funny how quickly life can turn itself around and how quickly it can flip our emotions around right with it! Congratulations on all of your success! christy

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

It is so amazing to thing how much can happen in a year. I can't wait to see what the next year brings for us all! :)

June G said...

I try to remember that no one goal defines me as a person, whether that is to be published or any thing else.

I'm the totality of what I do for others more so than what I try to accomplish for myself.

It's not all about me.

Lydia K said...

Great reminder Elana. My writing has come a huge way since last year, and I'm thrilled by that.
:)

M.B. West said...

Thanks for sharing, Elana. Amazing how a year can change everything, ya know?

Jeff King said...

I do see how far I have come, but unfortunately, I see how much father I have to go… the important thing is I am willing to do what it takes to get there.

Thx

Elana Johnson said...

Well said, Jeff.

Lois, you're not a quitter. I have no doubt you'll get there. Sometimes the one we think we want isn't the one for us. When you find the one that is, you'll know.

Thanks everyone! I'm sorry, but I've been in the kitchen all day, baking for my neighbors, so I'm not going to get to all your emails. But know I read all the comments! :) :) :)

Karen Lange said...

Looking back at 2010, I see the need to focus differently for 2011. So I'll be starting about 10 days from now...:)

Congrats to the winners!

Happy week,
Karen

Melanie Hooyenga said...

I've tried especially hard to look back at where I was a year ago and be appreciative, but it's hard. In '09 I looked forward to this year, and I have high hopes for '11. Fingers crossed.

I'm so so so very happy for you that's it's happening for you!

*squee*

Jemi Fraser said...

Yay! I get to be a bug!!! Thanks a bunch :)

gideon 86 said...

I had leaps and bounds this year. My first novel was riddled with so many adverbs, adjectives, punctuation problems, grammar issues, etc. It took me over a year to edit that ms.

My next novel, so much easier. I don't even think the old way anymore. What I learned soaked in and now I am a much better writer.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, ELANA.

Michael

Rena said...

This is a great post, Elana. Thanks.

Carolyn Kaufman said...

Congratulations, winners! :)

Kelly Dexter said...

This time last year, I'm pretty sure I was lamenting not being agented.

Now, I'm happily agented.

Thanks for reminding us of all that can happen in a year!

Amber Cuadra said...

I finished two novels, started getting serious about blogging and actually won NaNoWriMo, and all that after having a terrible year and a half long writer's block. :)

Good post! Thanks!

L.T. Elliot said...

I think a little glance back now and then is good for us. It helps us remember to move forward and be grateful for our journey. =D

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