How do you deal with rejection? Whether you’re a fellow novelist — or you adore reading fiction as much as I do — or simply you too are human — at some point we all experience disappointment and frustration.
Here, while I take time off to complete my upcoming novel, “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat,” Lynn Love opens her heart to us. This is how she keeps rejection from getting the better of her novel writing…
Writing novels is a strange way to spend your life.
You take months (in my case, years) working alone on a project then there comes a point – if you want your baby to develop, to grow and not remain swaddled to your over-protective breast forever – when you must push what you’ve made into the world and watch from a safe distance to see if it will fall on its face or walk, perhaps even run.
But what if it manages to both face plant and saunter cockily round the block on the same day?
A few weeks ago, I learned I’d come second in a Writing Magazine competition (more on that nearer publication day). My prize was either a modest amount of cash or a critique of 9,000 words.
Now, as I’m a writer with heaps of artistic integrity and a yearning to polish my craft…
It’s an honor to be featured on author/blogger Peni Jo Renner’s site! She wrote the multi-award-winning Puritan Chronicles series and is penning yet another book, this one set in modern times. Not long ago, she shared her self-publishing journey here and here on this blog. Have you been a guest on someone else’s site? Here I am on hers…
1. Congratulations on winning an Emmy! When and how did you achieve such an honor?
It was for a documentary I co-produced with a friend about homelessness in Marina del Rey, Los Angeles. Winning it was a happy experience, but also disorienting, which caught me off guard. After the ceremony, as I stood in line for the dinner buffet, someone tapped my shoulder and said, “Hey, you’re one of the winners.” Flustered, I made some sort of excuse. The man said, “But you won.” I continued making excuses!
2. Tell me about “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat” and its sequel, “Tango & the Sitting Cat.” Why do you call them “anti-novels”? And where might someone purchase your works?
Before I was a soon-to-be self-published novelist, I was a radio, print, and cable TV journalist…
Here’s a video that by my business partner at the time, David Hunt (who describes the event in additional detail here), and I won a Los Angeles Area Emmy Award for. Adam Yurman composed the haunting music for it. Earth Alert! funded it.
Back when it was made, we produced a documentary series, a talk show, and more for the cable TV station located in Hermosa Beach, CA, in addition to videos and commercials for small businesses. Once a show was produced, we’d ‘bicycle’ it, meaning we’d distribute copies of it to outlying cities to air on their channels.
In this episode, off-camera is an audience of passersby. Already nervous, the presence of onlookers made me borrow my partner’s jacket to calm my shivers despite the warm day.
Have you had your 5 minutes of fame yet?…
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My old statuette broke. Plus she was chipped and tarnished. My husband suggested I get her fixed for the sake of having a nice picture taken with her for my book release. Unfortunately, all the trophy repair people I contacted said she was made of pot metal, which is apparently beyond the scope of welding and gluing.
Getting this new one (okay, she’s more than merely the couplet’s ‘varnished’) entailed turning in the original, along with paying a pretty sum.
If only the original statuette had come so extravagantly boxed, she might never have gotten damaged.
Now I’m afraid to touch this new glittery one, certainly not without the little piece of lintless cloth that she arrived with. I’m also worried about setting her out on a bookshelf – what if she gets knocked over the way her predecessor suffered?
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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (South African, July 18, 1918 – Dec. 5, 2013)
After enduring 27 years in South African jail for speaking out against racism, revolutionary-politician-philanthropist Nelson Mandela went on to serve as South Africa’s most internationally acclaimed president. Nowadays, many there refer to him as ‘Father of the Nation.’
Each time I read his famous quote, I am reminded of the times I’ve shocked myself by seeing how sneaky my fear of success can be. As a kid, I worried that setting myself apart would invite criticism, jealousy, and ostracism.
Those fears persist, but in ways that I have to be extra vigilant to detect. Anyone who is thoughtful and who puts their heart into their work knows that insensitive and sometimes even ill-willed people exist within all realms of one’s life. It’s not always easy to not give a damn, but somehow I must slog through the self-doubts that others trigger in me and that I can supply in generous quantities on my own.
Fortunately, at times I know I’m good, and that there are great people all around me. Good and bad and alternating, Mandela is right to point that that being our best selves benefits everyone.
As an adult, only an hour after I had won an Emmy Award, a stranger asked me how the honor felt. My reply was so awkward that he went so far as to remind me that I had indeed won it. Months afterward, telling people about it continued to be a confusing affair.
Now when I’m frustrated by not accomplishing my goals as quickly as I’d like, I remind myself of Mandela’s wise encouragement. Sometimes I need to be patient. Other times, I see that I need a major emotional overhaul, which at first glance can appear impossible to achieve. That can involve looking for examples of other people doing what I’d like to do. Talking with people who’s judgment I trust also usually helps. Allowing myself to be uncomfortable with the process is crucial. Patience is always rewarded.
Are there times when you hold yourself back? Are there ways you overcome the ‘shrinking’ that Mandela refers to?
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Reading on the couch or in the bed? More like anywhere and everywhere! As a writer, if I have time to sit, I feel like I should be writing. At the same time, books are my lifeblood. The answer? I listen to audio books a lot. Driving, and via a boom box that I plug and unplug from one room to another. When I’m brushing my teeth, sweeping the floor, or chopping veggies, my essential little player is either on ‘play’ or ‘pause.’ Even when I’m working out to an exercise CD that I’ve already listened to!
Main male character, or main female character? For a great story, who cares? For anything lesser, probably a main female character is more interesting to me. Partly because I can relate, and partly because already the odds seem to be stacked higher against women.
Sweet snacks or salty snacks? Bitter or sweet, nutty, fruity or plain, chocolate!
Trilogies or quartets? In the style of Isabel Allende’s books, I like when they’re ok as stand-alones, but can fit together too.
POV: 1st person or 3rd person? Without consciously selecting them that way, most of what I read is in First Person.
Reading at night or morning? With breakfast, driving, lunch, making dinner. Meaning all day, not at night.
Libraries or bookstores? Both are among the very best places in the world!!!
Books that make you laugh or that make you cry? Both! Somewhere I read a quote that the best stories make one laugh and cry, and have agreed ever since. Wish I knew who coined such a great concept!
Book cover: black or white? Colorful is my fave. If black or white are my only choices, then white, so the black lettering of the title stands out.
Character-driven or plot-driven? My fave stores are a combination of both. Strong interesting characters amid a story with an arc and tension. Fine writing can make anything come to life. I love anything that’s not formulaic, that leaves me feeling better for having read it, in that I either know more or can empathize better.
OfficiallyThyda is an inspiring young woman who describes what its like to be recovering from a coma.
LittleDogLaughed takes the best dog photos! My fave, no surprise, given that he looks like my furry loves, is of Steve.