Thursday, December 2, 2010

On Selflessness and Rejection

This is the “speechless” edition of The Writing Life.

1. The Good Speechless
I follow the blogs and tweets of several literary agents and writers. I’m utterly dumbfounded by the generosity of some to help up-and-coming writers. AuthoressAnon, a writer trying to get published herself, actually hosts contests where agents agree to critique other writers’ work. Yeah, that’s right. Everyone’s work but her own. I recently got accepted into one of the contests called the Baker’s Dozen Agent Auction. On December 4, a snippet of my book will be posted with those of 39 other writers. Thirteen agents (and the public) will then give feedback on said snippets. Priceless!

Then, earlier in the week the Knight Literary Agency hosted a similar contest in hopes of finding a new client by Christmas. More than 180 writers sent in three pages of their manuscripts. Deidre Knight and her fellow agents chose 50 writers to send in three chapters. Later, the field will be whittled down until they find an author worth representing. I didn’t make the cut but I’m heartened to see busy publishing professionals adding extra work to their schedules just to offer another opportunity for writers to get a leg in the door.

2. The Bad Speechless
In both these contests (and on Twitter) I read of instances of disgruntled writers acting out, sending negative rebuttals and insults when rejected. Not only is this rude, it’s dumb. So dumb. The publishing industry is small and word spreads fast. Rejection is part of publishing. Move on and improve your work.

Since most of my blog readers are NOT writers, here are my general thoughts on 1 and 2 above.
  • Everywhere and everyday, people do thoughtful, selfless things. We only have take notice – and hopefully say thank you. Maybe we might try being selfless!
  • We all tend to take things too personally: not getting asked on a second date, getting a grumpy sales person, having our food order come out incorrect. The list goes on and on. Let’s take some advice from the Four Agreements: don’t take things personally, be impeccable with your word, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best. The world is a happier place for all of us when we take this advice.

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