Friday, August 17, 2007
Having Hope in the Mail
It took me ten years to get a manuscript accepted by a publisher. And in those ten years I went from being married, to being married with two dogs, to being married with two dogs and two kids. Oh, yeah. And there was that full-time job teaching school, too. During those ten years, I wrote actively. I was in a routine of getting up every morning at around 5:00 (because that's when Mark left for work), I'd write until one of the babies would go "Waaaaaah!", then press Control-S and get the kids ready and head off to work. During those ten years, I submitted actively. I sent out query letters, or sample chapters, or shoot--the whole manuscript to publishers and agents in New York. And during those ten years, those New York publishers and agents actively rejected me. "We're sorry, this is not right for us at this time, but please think of us again with your next project." What got me through those ten years was not knowing it would be ten years. What got me through those ten years was Mark's unwavering support. But the key thing that got me through those ten years was having hope in the mail. Hope in the mail--we started calling it that early on, and I love the expression because it really does capture the feeling you get when you put a manuscript in the mail. "Good luck, Great Story" you whisper at the post office, and as you leave, you're whole soul is lifted. You have hope in the mail. Now, that Great Story will likely get rejected, but it almost doesn't matter, because in the meantime you have the energy to continue on your quest. Or to start writing something new. Hope is in the mail. From my ten years of experience with rejection, I learned that half the battle of making any dream a reality is having hope in the mail. And for us it's now a metaphor for taking the steps, making the call, asking for help, doing whatever it takes to get to the next square. The whole idea of having hope in the mail makes me face my fears and put hope in the mail. Hope is a wonderful thing. It's what life is all about--that uplifting feeling that something great could happen... today! For the ETRTR campaign, hope is definitely in the mail. We've been working really hard on putting together dynamite press packets, and they are now winging their way to different parts of the country. It's an enormous relief to have it done, but more than that, I'm filled with that wonderful, uplifting feeling that something great could happen...today! So what's your dream? Have you left it hidden in a drawer? Are you afraid of the sting of rejection? Dreams don't come true in drawers. Open the drawer. Dust off the dream. Get yourself some hope in the mail!