One of the hardest things about writing and seeking publication is rejection. Everyone agrees. You work so hard–your blood, sweat, and tears are given for your work. You float it out there to your critical, carefully-chosen first-readers. They critique. You adjust and edit. The typical short article you edit about twenty times or more. The typical novel 20-50 times, depending. The Bible study material you go over and over; each word can have eternal implications.
Writing a rough draft is a thrill, an emotional ride. You’re juiced by the inspiration coursing through you. Pumped! God is motivating; your brain is firing. Editing is another beast altogether. Anyone can write a rough draft. Many, many people do. But revising, that’s another creature. Not everyone has the guts and fortitude to do it. It’s all about character development and perseverance and being willing to learn and perfect your craft. God builds into your life; You lean on Him, the Master Storyteller, the Author of Scripture. It requires more tears, more begging God for help and clarity, hours and hours and hours of precious time.
You finally get it the way you want it. You put it before the Lord: Is it done, Lord? It seems it is. Off it goes again. This time to editors and agents. Some are gracious enough to critique your work when they reject you. Some reject by silence. Some reject by form letter. Some accept your work. You’re thrilled. When they later reject, it’s devastating.
You learn how to rely more entirely on the Lord. He is yours, and you are His. He never rejects.
I crawl into bed and wrap my arms about Him: “Lord, I love You with all my heart and soul; I cling to You. Thank You that You are always near, that You always love me, that You showed me and every other being in heaven and on earth this truth by shedding Your blood for me. Thank you for Your gruesome death to pay for my sins. Your love is proven. Comfort my heart. Draw me ever nearer.”
Whispering into my dreams, He tells me: “Your responsibility is to use the gifts I’ve given you. My responsibility is the outcome.”
What happens is entirely up to Him. It’s as much about my growth in godliness and placing all my hope and trust in Him as it is about the audience who will receive my work, when He wants it received. My writing is a tool to be used in His hands, if He chooses. He is the Master. I am the slave. I fight the good fight, growing in godliness and character. I persevere.
My daughter “stumbled-upon” these facts and emailed them to me, knowing I was discouraged. These were juice in the tank:
- Madeline L’Engle’s book, A Wrinkle in Time, was turned down 29 timesbefore she found a publisher.
- C.S. Lewis received over 800 rejections before he sold a single piece of writing.
- Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind was rejected by 25 publishers.
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was rejected 121 times.
- Johathan Livingston Seagull was rejected 40 times.
- Louis L’Amour was rejected over 200 times before he sold any of his writing.
- The San Francisco Examiner turned down Rudyard Kipling’s submission in 1889 with the note, “I am sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just do not know how to use the English language.”
- An editor once told F. Scott Fitzgerald, “You’d have a decent book if you’d get rid of that Gatsby Character.”
- The Dr. Seuss book, And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected for being “too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant selling.”
- George Orwell’s Animal Farm was rejected with the comment, “It’s impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.”
- The manuscript for The Diary of Anne Frank received the editorial comment, “This girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the curiosity level.”
I am not alone. I press on in the task He has given me, taking my marching orders from Him. To serve Him with the gifts He has given me is the greatest blessing on earth. The results are His responsibility.