my many tales of rejection before becoming a writer
Rejection is horrible. Nobody likes it but we all face it at some part of our lives. Sometimes we never know why we are rejected. You thought you had a great date with that cute guy?
Well obviously he didn't think it was so great because he never called you again. Was it something you said or did? Did he simply think he could do better than you? Whatever the reason, you just got a red card and it stung.
Failing job interviews also hurts. You thought you did really well and clicked with the interviewer. They said they'd let you know. And they did. Via a 'thanks, but no thanks' letter. It's always, always a letter when it's bad news. Good news usually comes in the form of a phone call.
I remember once being rejected for a house share. I had a very pleasant chat with the home owner and we shared a pot of tea and a few laughs. When I phoned her a couple of nights later to enquire about the room she tersely told me she was giving it to a bloke.
I spent many hours pondering her decision. Had I been rejected because I was female? Maybe she'd fancied this chap and was looking for a relationship? My ego was dented.
But nothing could have prepared me for the sheer scale of rejection I'd encounter when I tried to get my first novel published. I could have wall-papered my entire home and the next door neighbour's home with the amount of rejection letters I received. I began to hate the postman.
Some rejection letters were polite. Most were not. I got a few letters that started with 'Dear Sir'. I received one letter that began 'Dear no. 37,652'. This stunned me. Just how many other people in the world were trying to get published? It took a lot of 'I don't like it' letters before finally getting an 'I do'.
I wished there had been someone there to hold my hand. I felt I was wasting so much money on stamps. Nobody wanted my book. Now my books are translated into 14 different languages.
This came after an encounter with the marvellous Deirdre Purcell. She was giving a talk about writing and I was in the audience. Afterwards I approached her and told her I was a writer myself. I was shaking.
She was lovely and put me in touch with an editor. Deirdre Purcell was the first author that I had ever met and I was lucky that she was so kind because after so many rejection letters I had very little faith in myself and my book.
Now I'm a full-time writer and I'm giving talks to would-be authors. On Saturday, October 11, I team up with novelists Louise Phillips, Caroline Grace-Cassidy and Caroline Finnerty in Dublin to host a one-day writing seminar. Maybe there will be somebody in the audience on the verge of giving up. If that's the case, I hope I can assure them that not everybody you meet in publishing will be 'The One'. But somebody eventually will say 'I do'.
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