Rejection of any sort makes you doubt yourself. It puts those questions in your head, Am I not good enough? What's wrong with me? But in reality, I know nothing is wrong with me. I am a strong writer, though some areas may be weak, which is why my sister and I live edit almost nightly (except for right now because she has company down in Louisiana.) I can't remember whose blog I read, but they said something along the lines of: Being an agent and selecting who to represent is like walking into a huge bookstore. As you do so, you look at a few, and only end up buying one. It's the same with representing an author. My novel is one of those thousands of nameless books in that bookstore. It has to reach the right reader. This gives me perspective and it lessens each blow that says "I don't want you." It's nothing personal, it's just re-shelving me and my book.
When I first wrote this The Dying Process, it was SO weak. I still have an early draft if you'd ever like to read it and laugh with me. But it was the skeleton of something that is blowing my mind and making me consider starting a sequel. There are some parts that I've re-read and almost started crying because I can feel the character's pain an anguish at losing her other half. I want to cry with her because I've lost mine. But the fact that I have these emotions that she's capable of triggering them gives me hope that my writing can and will reach an agent, reach a publisher and start getting my work out there.
At work today, people who offered to read my story were discussing it and allowed me to listen in on some. The biggest compliment I received was them saying, "It's playing out like a movie in my head. I can see everything you're saying perfectly." Followed by, "I can't wait to read the rest."
Rebecca Rasmussen just put up a blog post about having heart, and sticking it out. I believe in my work. My sisters believe in my work. In middle school Mrs. Watchorn continually pushed me along with my writing. In high school people used to steal my notebooks asking "What haven't I read yet?" In college, I had people asking me to sign their copies of Zephyr. I know I am capable of writing things that reach people, that people want to read.
So as Jay-Z told me as I opened my first big rejection letter, "You gotta get that dirt off your shoulders," and as Reliant K tells me, "I'm pressing on."