Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


BFFF is short for Big Fat Frickin' Failure. Old Year's Day (or New Year's Eve) morning I was wallowing in a case of BFFF. Looking back over my sum total of non-accomplishments has a way of doing that to me. I mean, if you really don't have a lot to show for twelve months of life, you really can't help but feel like you are an expert in mental masturbation. And I don't know about you, but for me that spells failure.

Anyway, I thought I was over the whole BFFF thing... that request for full got me over it. Right? If someone wanted my work, I wasn't a total failure. Right? That feeling lasted four days.

Yesterday morning as I was getting prepped to start the new year right, I got an email that pretty much took me right back to BFFF status. It was a rejection on the full I just sent.

Now, if said agent is somehow reading this post, I don't want her to think any of this was her fault. I was already most of the way there anyway. But here's how it went...

I saw the From and the Subject, and I cracked in half. Part of me was sure it was her saying she loved it and wanted to represent me. The other part was certain she was rejecting me. Half of me was excited and wanted to pop that bad boy open so I could bask in the glow of success. The other half knew better. I listened to the happy half, and the unhappy half spent the rest of the day saying "Told you so".

As rejection letters go, it wasn't a bad one. I think she said she loved my voice. I think she even pointed out a particular scene she liked, and said some other nice things. (I'd go back and check, but I'm not in a place where I can re-read the letter yet - not even to send the 'thank you' note she certainly deserves.) Regardless of how nice and helpful she was, the sum total of it was she wasn't accepting me for representation. I was so close, but I failed... yet again.

Of course, as luck would have it, I was halfway through the letter when I realized my daughter was standing behind me (and she reads over my shoulder on occasion), so no matter how I felt about what I was reading, I couldn't let myself show any reaction. She was so excited about the full, I just couldn't ruin her morning, too. (Dude, if you're reading this right now, get back to Physics or else.) So I sucked it up. I closed the mail, shifted it to my Agents folder, and went outside for a cigarette - to compose myself and get some badly needed nicotine into my system. I didn't have time to deal with it. The resumption of our routine came first.

The falling apart would have to wait until later.

Instead, I took my daughter through our new exercise routine. Nothing like a workout to distract a person. (And for which I am paying mightily today.) Then we did our morning errands. No time for worrying about being a BFFF while you're running errands. Then school started and for the next few hours I was blissfully distracted from that little piece of reality.

Except when she was working on her own. When she started Physics - which she has to do on my computer (get back to work already, junior) - I was left without distraction. I tried reading, but that only made it worse. I tried crocheting, but that activity only allows my mind to wander. When I was on my dozenth row and starting to feel weepy, I stepped outside.

I've talked before about the stages of grief and how they fit into the whole rejection thing. You really do have to go through them before you can come out a whole person on the other side. Needless to say, I'm still working on them. On the upside, I didn't set fire to my manuscripts and quit the business. (Not that it didn't cross my mind.) I'm still here. I'm not working right now, but I'm here.

I'm not over feeling like a BFFF, but the only way to really fail is to quit. I haven't quit yet. Like the poem says, the road I'm trudging feels like it's all up hill. But I haven't quit.

I just need some time to get through this.

Please understand, I'm not typing this to ellicit sympathy. What I try to do here at The Writing Spectacle is give my readers an unvarnished look into the life of a writer. Sometimes good things happen, and sometimes they don't, but whatever happens, it's all part of the game. Some of this shit hurts like hell, but writers either get over it or they really are BFFF. Maybe some writer reading this will see they aren't alone, and it will give them the courage to keep going. If that happens, at least something good will come of this.

At this point, I don't know if I'll ever be able to put 'published' in front of my writer status, but I'm still writing.

And maybe that means I'm not such a BFFF after all.

1 comment:

Kristen Painter said...

I feel like this alot. And I have an agent. There's nothing wrong with feeling this way, it's natural. If you can channel it into your work, so much the better.

Hang in there.