This week's feature is from Cole Gibsen, and here's the Publisher's Marketplace blurb run just last week:
Cole Gibsen's debut KATANA, about what happens when the captain of the pom squad learns she is a reincarnated samurai, meets a boy claiming to be her soul mate from another life, and must chose between continuing as the girl she's always been and embracing the warrior inside her, to Brian Farrey at Flux, in a two-book deal, by Chris Richman at Upstart Crow Literary (NA).
When a Rejection Feels Like a Punch in the Face
As someone who used to take martial arts, I can tell you that getting punched in the face hurts like a mother. And, unfortunately for me, I was punched/kicked in the face quite a bit because I’m no Bruce Lee.
The same thing goes with rejections. They suck ducks. And let me tell you, I received my fair share of them.
So how did I do it, you ask? How did I withstand years (yes, I said years) of literally hundreds of rejections, each feeling like a sucker punch to the gut?
I applied the lessons I learned during my training at the dojang.
You see, martial arts teaches you how to block – but if you engage in a fight getting hurt is inevitable. That’s why you must also learn how to take a hit.
Here are some pointers:
- Relax mentally. Your mindset is very important. If you fear that the pain will be more agonizing than what it actually will be, it'll hurt even worse. If you know you might get punched, accept that you will get punched so that you can prepare yourself mentally for it.
The same thing goes with querying. Relax! It’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be. There will be rejections. Accept that. Prepare for it. But don’t focus on it.
- Keep your vision. When confronted with a threat, it's very easy to make that the center of your universe. Avoid this natural tendency and try to maintain peripheral vision and awareness of your surroundings, especially other assailants. There may be something that can help you in the ensuing fight, your assailant may have a weapon, or there maybe someone else attempting to jump you from behind.
When querying, don’t make the rejections the center of your universe. Keep honing your craft and working on other projects.
- Practice. In order to learn relax, and not panic, you really need to experience the sensation of having punches thrown at you. You will obviously want to do this in a controlled environment that safely simulates a real world scenario as best as possible.
Keep practicing! The only real way to prepare yourself and your work for querying is to join a critique group. Sure, hearing about your shortcomings can feel like a jab in the gut, but discovering your weaknesses and improving upon them will only make you a better writer.
- Try to "roll with the punch". If you can't avoid getting hit, move your body away from the hit. This decreases both the momentum and the time of the impact, effectively reducing the impulse and forcing the assailant to inadvertently "pull his punches."
- You might feel angry receiving a form rejection for the manuscript you’ve poured your heart and soul into. But shake it off! Writing the agent/editor back to proclaim their mental shortcomings is the worst thing you can do. Roll with the punch and move on.
- Keep your balance. Getting knocked down in a fight is generally a bad thing, as it decreases your ability to escape, makes you vulnerable to kicking or getting crushed, in addition to the danger of injuring yourself in the process of falling.
A warning; if you don’t want to be hit, don’t get into a fight. Likewise, if you don’t want a rejection, don’t query. But if you’re determined, and don’t mind taking a couple of hooks and jabs along the way, get in there and fight for what you want. If you do, victory will be yours!
This post features information from the wikihow article “How to Take a Punch”, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license. © 2010