In skimming through a handful of mail last week, I found an envelope addressed in my own handwriting. Inside, a “sorry, but we’re going to pass on your submission” note written across the top of my query letter. Ouch.
The rejection not only stung but dashed the hopes I’d been stockpiling all summer. Dreams of landing an agent this year were sidelined and I’m back to the beginning again.
Know what I felt like? Like the main character in one of my favorite football movies, Rudy. His dream was to play football at Notre Dame, but first he had to get into the university. So, he took classes at a junior college within sight of his dream in order to earn the grades necessary to get admitted. Several scenes in the movie show him opening the “we’re sorry to tell you” letters. Sitting on a park bench with slumped shoulders. Collapsing backward against the wall. Dashed dreams.
But did Rudy quit? No. He squared his shoulders and got back to work in the classroom and as a groundskeeper to cover his bills. Until the day when he got the amazing letter that reduced him to tears again. Tears of joy that he had been granted admission. (Not that he’d completely achieved his dream, since he still had to try out for the team as a walk-on, persevere through punishing workouts, and rely on the networking of teammates to get him into a game uniform and onto the field for the last home game of his senior year.)
So, inspired by the game of football, I’m filing away the letter (for tax purposes to prove my business activities) and pushing forward in pursuit of my dream. Sending out new queries to agents. Polishing my work. Writing a new manuscript geared toward getting my foot in the door. And knowing that eventually getting that acceptance letter or call will be just another step in the journey.
Come to think of it, the full manuscript of my second novel is still under consideration by a publisher, so not all is lost while I continue to search for an agent. Oh, and there was the small publisher I met at a writer’s conference who was interested in seeing the full manuscript of my first novel. I’m within sight of my dream!
What about you? Have your dreams ever been dashed or delayed? Did you get back in the game? How long did it take?