The day before I left to Devon, I got a rejection letter from an agent. I thought, well, at least this one bothered to reply. He even gave me some feedback on how to improve on my work. The tone of the letter was generally positive, and this person said that he’d be happy to look at the second draft of my book once I make the necessary changes.
I felt devastated. Intellectually, I knew I was being unreasonable. I know this is how it works. I know this is not the first or the last rejection letter I get. I know my work is good enough to be out there one day. It just needs a bit more work.
I parked my disappointment aside. It had to wait until after our holiday. But it was brewing underneath of all my attempts to shut it out.
Maybe this is not for me. Why am I so obsessed with this whole book thing anyway? Come on, go back to your job when the maternity leave is over. It was a nice try. You gave it your best shot.
If you know me, you probably know I am not a quitter. So when I caught these silent thoughts in my head, my disappointment got stronger. Can’t even handle a rejection, I seethed as we drove to Devon. I am too tired and too overwhelmed to deal with this right now. Forget about it, I tried to convince myself.
We got to lovely Embercombe and on the very first day I met an acquaintance. Two years ago, we’ve attended a Mystery Experience retreat in Glastonbury. He sat at our table during lunch.
‘I’m writing a book,’ he said.
‘Really? Wow, tell me more?’
Twenty minutes later I found myself convincing him why he should not quit writing this book. His spiritual ordeal sounded fascinating. His fear of exposure was painfully familiar, but I kept encouraging him to pursue his dream nonetheless.
Then on the second day, I ran into a wonderful woman I greatly admire. I first met her in May at the family camp. She is a writer too and I follow her blog avidly. Sitting on a cosy sofa in a spacious room, we chatted about our writing projects while our children played together. She mentioned a story she’s been working on, but somehow haven’t finished yet.
‘Well, I offer 1:1 sessions with specific focus on the writer’s block. Would you like to have one with me?’ I said.
On day three… we had a creative writing workshop. Just to remind you, the Emberfeast was about jam and pickle-making. Creative writing workshop? Needless to say, I was there at 7pm and we had a fun hour free-writing and making up a group poem.
That evening, as I walked back to our yurt, I mentally grumbled:
‘All right, all right, I got the message. I am not quitting.’