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Guest Post: McKelle George

Today we are happy to welcome author McKelle George, whose debut novel Speak Easy, Speak Love comes out in Fall 2017, with a guest post entitled The Art of Sadness in Rejection:

Confession: I have an entire outline pulled up for a different sort of blog post. But it is optimistic in nature and something-something-genre-related, and this morning, when I am supposed to be writing it, I am also still lingering in the aftermath of a rejection that happened about an hour ago. Writing-related, but really, a baby rejection compared to the sort the publishing industry is capable of dishing out.

But still, someone rejected my skill set/my work/my “talent”/me—and I am too sad to write the other blog post.

*blog readers side-eye each other and slowly and awkwardly back away*

So I want to talk about this place, this lingering place. Because the general advice in the face of rejection in the publishing industry is to dust yourself off and keep trying. There are three rules about rejection that I genuinely believe:

1. You should try to get rejected.
     a.      Collect them, my pretties, like so many butterflies. Set rejection goals. Why? It helps you uncouple the word rejection from failure, it helps you grow, and it increases your odds of actually getting published. The more times tried, etc. Also there are people getting paid a salary to reject you, so don’t do their work for them by never sending it in. More rejections means more times tried!

2. Persistence is greater than talent.
     a.      Persistence isn’t the end game of writing, as Kameron Hurley says. It’s the name of the road. Success stories in publishing are just failure stories that tried one more time, blah blah blah. (I really do believe this, so forgive the flippant tone.)

3. You must do things before you’re ready.
     a.      I submit that if you’re working on something that doesn’t scare you, you might want to reconsider what you’re working on. Not only should you try something in spite of fear, but you should try something specifically when you are scared of it, because that is the only way to build confidence. You will never grow that muscle of embarrassing bravery if you don’t try to flex it before you’re ready. I believe confidence in your art is earned in this way.

But, listen, when you’re actually in the thing, when your wound is still dripping, sometimes you hear things like this, all basically iterations of get back on the horse, cowboy, and you feel maybe like reacting like this:

At least I do.

So I’m here to suggest that for a little while, it’s okay to wallow. I would even say it’s better than looking away, to stuffing it down like it doesn’t affect you at all. Sit in it for a minute, this yucky feeling. I know. It feels super gross. But just give yourself a tiny moment to feel it, to acknowledge that, yes, this makes you sad, and maybe in the grand scheme of things it’s not a big deal. Maybe in the yet grander scheme of things, it’s even a good thing. But right now, it sucks. It is a whole planet of suck and you are its queen and you have put a flag down and it is all yourrssss. Maybe cry?

Now go take care of yourself: whatever that means. Binge watch your favorite TV show, eat ice cream, go to the movies, go for a run, snuggle your pet/child/partner/whatever. Sit for a minute, then go find something not related to writing that can help pull you out of the pit of sadness.

And then, then it’s time to listen to that advice and try again. There are a thousand articles and videos about not giving up. About trying one more time. This blog post isn’t that—even if I do, ultimately, believe in it. This is about feeling sad and feeling sorry for yourself and crying and complaining, because it doesn’t matter how many times it happens to every single person and it doesn’t matter that it’s not supposed to be personal. It’s personal to you. And it still sucks, even the little rejections. I’m giving you permission to feel the crap out of it, and then to do whatever works for you to feel better, for however long you need.

So go be sad.

And then go write the next thing. You can do it.

For more about McKelle and her novel, visit her website, goodreads, or twitter.

Kaitlin Ward

Kaitlin Ward is the author of Bleeding Earth, Adaptive Books 2016, and The Farm, coming 2017 from Scholastic.

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Item Reviewed: Guest Post: McKelle George Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kaitlin Ward