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Turn Your Writing Lemons Into
Everyone Gets Their Share of Lemons
We all get our share of lemons. Be it a car that turns out to be a “real lemon” or a house that constantly needs repairs like the one in the Tom Hanks movie, “The Money Pit.” I guess getting a lemon for a writer is a dreaded rejection slip. Maybe missing a deadline for something you wanted to submit to. Finding out your favorite magazine is going under. Learning the book publisher you planned to submit your picture book to, is not accepting any unsolicited manuscripts. Certainly the anthrax scare concerning our mail was a lemon for writers. But even that scare was turned into lemonade in one regard--many more magazines are accepting submissions by e-mail. This saves on stamps and paper and usually you get a faster reply.
Try Making Lemonade
Have you ever thought of how you can turn these lemons into lemonade? The lemonade for a writer would be to turn a rejection into an acceptance or some positive learning experience. Have you ever been upset by a rejection only to submit elsewhere and get an acceptance that was much better than your first try? At these times you are so thankful for the first rejection. You made lemonade.
Don’t Forget to Share the Bad with the Good
Articles about writing are one of the mainstays of many writers. Online magazines and hard copy magazines are filled with articles telling you how to write a better cover letter or how to grab the editor’s attention. Instead of writing technical articles think of writing something completely different, a personal event in your writing life. A positive event or sale makes for a great article but don’t forget the ones that aren’t so positive. Writers need to get ideas wherever possible. Share your lemons in your articles. The writing magazines love real life stories telling of the writer’s plight be it in a serious light or humorous. One of my lemon stories follows.
I sold a middle grade mystery to a magazine. I waited eight months for this acceptance. I returned my signed contract the very next day. Then I waited to hear when it would be published. More waiting to find out the publisher was going out of business. However, there was a very good possibility my story would make the final issue. I waited some more. It didn’t! My first response was “what a waste of time. All that time my story was sitting on someone’s desk and for what? Nothing!” The editor had months to tell me this too.
Knowing how hard it is to sell fiction and
then to lose a sale because it went out of business was very difficult. I had
dreamed of seeing that story in print for so long. The pay was very minimal so
the money wasn’t the issue. Months later I described this event in an article
to an online writing magazine. I made more money on the article than I would
have if it had been published. That’s when I decided I had made lemonade out
of a sour lemon event in my life.
A Friend’s LemonTurn Your Rejections into Ideas
One writer friend got a very abrupt rude rejection. It seemed to come from no where. She wrote about the feeling of anger and insecurity this caused and the fact that the editor must have been having a bad day.
She too made more on the article than she
would have if she had sold the original story. Writers can relate to all these
personal stories. Most of them have had similar things happen. The truth of the
article rings out. Don’t be afraid to submit this type of article to a writing
Literally turn your rejections into writing material. Use the very words and suggestions the editor uses in her rejection for ideas.
One friend was told her article was excellent but the timing was wrong. So she wrote an article about timing and sold it. Whatever reason you were given for the rejection, try to turn it around for a positive learning experience. This is the ultimate lemonade. Take this as a free lesson in life. Did a rude editor actually give you good writing advice, even though it wasn’t delivered in the correct manner? If you got a “light bulb” moment that you might not ever have gotten without the rejection, then you made lemonade. Respond to a rejection with a letter of thanks. This doesn’t come naturally but it may be remembered the next time you submit.
Record your Lemons and When they Become Lemonade
Did you wait months only to be rejected? Patience is a virtue and truly one that writers need. If you are slowly learning patience then you made lemonade.
Write down your lemons. Then, at a later date, see if any of them have turned into lemonade. You may be pleasantly surprised. What this all boils down to is: Writers can make something positive out of anything if they have the right mind set. Don’t forget those very same sour lemons also make lemon meringue pie!
Christine Collier, mom of three and grandmother of three, is the author of a mystery series with four women writers as central characters. The Writer's Club, Mystery is our Shadow and Christmas at Cliffhanger Inn, are available at www.iuniverse.com www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com as well as her children's chapter book, Adventure on Apple Orchard Road.