Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday Reading Room: Dealing with Rejection

I got my first rejection letter (email) yesterday, and I'm embarrassingly happy about it.

Sally: She said no, right?

Me: Yeah.

Sally: So why are you so happy?  Just because she read your work?

Me: Exactly!  I already knew my book's not for everyone.  She gave it a chance.  She's allowed to not like it.  This way, at least I know she looked at it.  That's all I wanted.

I'm planning to use some version of
Ouroboros on the cover of my book.
This spectacualr piece is available from
New Earth Art.

Truth is, she was too nice.  The part about how she didn't want to represent my book, but somebody else might, that was unnecessary.  She passed, I'm glad she told me she was passing, but it was a business inquiry, and moral support didn't need to factor into it.  If agents and publishers started sending more brutally honest rejection letters, it would help the whole industry.  Imagine a world where would-be writers got rejection letters that said this:

"After looking at your submission, I'm going to pass.  Your book is hopelessly unprofessional, and taking it on would be a waste of both my time and yours.  Thank you for your submission, but for your own good, please don't quit your day job."

Sounds harsh?  It's not.  It's useful, realistic feedback that's appropriate to a free market economy.  Giving feedback like that would be doing someone a favor.

The world is filled with crappy writing.  This could be avoided, at least in part, if professionals gave more brutally honest opinions.  "I don't want to see your stuff again."  It could even come via form letter.  Some people are never going to be the next American Idol.  In the same way, many, many people have book ideas that will never appeal to a mass market.  That's simple reality.

Truth is rarely a bad thing.  Sometimes it is not what we want to hear, but it's still truth.  Having it is better than remaining in a state of self-delusion, no matter how blissful.


Useful article.  I've started informally coaching some folks in my office for a 5K we're doing in a few weeks, and one of the issues is trying to hold emergent runners back from taking on too much, too soon.

Yes, running is awesome.  However, there is still a right way and a wrong way to do everything.

"In this sum­mer of glob­al tu­mult, the de­bate in Wash­ing­ton es­sen­tial­ly boils down to two op­po­site po­si­tions: It is all Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s fault, ac­cord­ing to his crit­ics; no, it is not, ac­cord­ing to his sup­port­ers, be­cause these are events be­yond his con­trol."

He would be less susceptible to this kind of criticism if he had some sort of strategic vision that guided his thinking.  But this president appears to want to react minimally to every problem.  He wants to focus on his domestic agenda and on Washington politics, and anything that gets in the way of that looks like a nuissance, at least from the outside. 

If there is an Obama Doctrine, it is that "We can't do everything."  Okay, but that encourages rogue actors by its very definition.

This, by the way, is not a call to arms to defend every part of the world militarily.  The Paradoxical Trinity has three legs: politics, economics, and war.  Regular readers of this blog will know that I almost always favor economics over the other two.  Properly deployed, economics are both devastating and unemotional.  But their proper use requires an adherence to principal and a willingness to sacrifice profits, and we've not seen those things in the West in many, many years.  

There are many that this president could show leadership.  He appears interested in none of them, and what we have is a world that's blowing up and a leader who is susceptible to charges that he's letting it happen.


Here's another one.  From the Guardian of all places.

We'd like to think that everyone naturally knows how to run, but as I said earlier, there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything.  Running incorrectly will lead to injuries.

That's enough.  We're riding this morning, and I'm gonna have to start getting ready sooner or later.  

My buddy Ben has to put in five hours on the bike, but I personally only plan to do two.  That's the beauty of taking some time away from competition.  My hiatus is ending in October, but in the meantime, I'm still milking it for whatever it's worth.

1 comment:

  1. It's why I like Simon Cowell so much. That and he knows how to turn a phrase.