Tag Archives: how to keep trying

When Your Book Deal Falls Apart

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There are always two ways to look at things. Always. Some of my favorite authors were rejected multiple times by publishers and agents before getting a break. And my writing mentor in graduate school in New York, Barbara Probst Solomon , told me years ago to hang every rejection letter from every agent and every publisher on my bedroom wall. She insisted that I should be proud of trying. She also had to read, edit and approve my first novel, Lucifer’s Laughter, in order for me to graduate from the writing program. I’m not sure if the novel was her speed, but I’ll never forget her words of encouragement. It was a murder mystery/suicide plot with a southern main character in a little town of Maine. In short, it was nothing she would likely pick up on her own. But she said to me: “You’ve done this before haven’t you? You can tell a story well and move it along. Keep at it.”

In a world that is hyper critical and loud, like New York, that was the kindest encouragement I had ever received during my four years there.

So, I’m sharing my rejection story with you in honor of my thesis advisor, Barbara. In short, a lot of life and a lot of fear occurred in between that time when I was in New York penning my first novel and now. Journalism jobs, marriage, international life, divorce… Four years ago I began writing fiction again in earnest.  My second novel has only been read by one agent and one top editor at a publishing house. Barbara, if she still advised me, would likely say I haven’t tried hard enough. I was lucky to have an introduction to an agent right away. It didn’t pan out, but then I reached out to the top editor of a major publishing house directly, and to my amazement, she said yes she’d love to read my book! It took five months to hear back, but this kind soul wrote a very thorough letter to me last Wed. It was like a soft break-up with someone you really like, but just aren’t in love with. She told me I was a good writer and lyrical and careful with word choice, but that Southern main characters have to be so engaging that she falls madly in love. She wasn’t in love with the main character and I have too many characters. She wants a more simple novel to publish right now. Uriel’s Mask has a lot of action and goes from the end of slavery (inspired by a true story) to the 1980s, so it is more plot driven and reads like a movie. I learned about the type of novel she’s looking for and it’s not as large in scope.

So, this week was hard and I was working such long hours and juggling a lot that I didn’t have time to digest this news properly. I’m sharing it with all of you because I want my fellow writers to realize that it’s just the process. If I am too scared to hear these honest dialogues from those in the industry, I will never grow. Maybe the book just wasn’t a fit for this particular publisher? Maybe she’ll read my next one, which is drastically different and not southern AT ALL.

Maybe I need to do what most do, and mail 15 to 20 copies to agents all over the country? Maybe I need to consider self-publishing if it costs the same amount as spamming agents? All I know is that I can’t give up and neither should you if you receive one rejection letter. All I know is that I’ve been writing and publishing work since I was 18 years old as a journalist with the Red & Black newspaper. Writing is what I do. Yoga helps me do it better and live longer and healthier. In my Yoga for Writers Workshop that I’m leading, I will bring in my rejection letter, as well as all the drafts of the query letter that I created to finally send to the one agent and the one editor who responded positively and requested a copy of my novel. It’s a process. It’s a business. And the best part is telling the stories. I’ll keep writing Between Thoughts of You, my 3rd novel, but also squeak in time each month to mail out one query letter or two for my previous novel. I think baby steps and practice will make it all a little easier. Have a beautiful week. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Keep focused and out of drama. And keep striving. Laura x

Here are some more posts on writing that I hope inspires you!
Want to be a great writer? How you live matters.
First creative writing conference with kids in tow!
Boldness has no expiration date
How yoga helps you create
 Breaking through resistance

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Faith, in a Bubble

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Lately I’ve been visualizing a bubble when I meditate. It’s sort of like this one. I imagine it crossing an ocean, like an airplane. I can’t see it. I feel it. It’s on a planned trajectory, a mapped journey, straight toward me, wherever I am. A bit like Glenda’s bubble in the Wizard of Oz, I admit, but within this bubble is all that I want to manifest in my life. My number is 3, and I have just 3 main goals at the moment: to garner a book deal,  to reach others as I expand my yoga & meditation practice, and to attract a healthy love.

I breathe deeply and visualize this bubble floating toward me. I tell myself that just because I can’t see it, or always feel it, the bubble of manifestation is still working. It is still on its way, floating toward me, as long as I believe. And that’s the tricky part. Having faith when there are no signs that something is on its way. Sometimes it feels impossible to do. And what I’m learning is that belief is only part of the process. After taking Mike Dooley’s course, Playing the Matrix, I’ve discovered a major roadblock—the main reason why previous attempts to manifest haven’t been so good. Discovering this roadblock then revealed another one to me. If you are focussing on your intentions and goals in the New Year, maybe these tips will help you too.  Here are my two biggest road blocks to manifesting, which reveal the best ways TO manifest!

First: I have to stop attaching. I attach to details. I don’t just want a book deal, I want a specific agent or a specific publisher. Oh, but what if the Universe has other plans? What if those specific people and companies aren’t the right fit for me? What if my insistence blocks the right agent and the best publisher to flow toward me? I need to get out of my own way. “Let Go and Let God” is a popular phrase. You’ve likely heard it and agree. It’s easier than it sounds to put into practice! When I attach to details, I may just get what I want— and often that’s a bad thing. My Higher Power knows better. Mike Dooley, who I adore as much as Louise Hay (and my good friends know how much I love her!) advises to manifest with big picture goals only. So, I can imagine an agent signing or a publisher signing me, but not a specific person or publisher. Same goes for love, I can’t attach to a specific person or even specific descriptions such as height, hair color, job, etc. as it can block the perfect person, agent, yoga studio, etc. from appearing—and its appearance may not be what I’m expecting. Again, I need to get out of my own way. God knows best who and what is right for me. I can, however, ask for many other big picture items such as abundance, joy, a creative career, health…not specifics. There is so much more to Mike Dooley’s course, I’m such a big fan… everyone should take it! Seriously, my mind lit up like a strand of Christmas tree lights. He is beyond brilliant.

Second: I must face deep-rooted inner programming to persevere.
Just meditating on what I want, doesn’t help the Universe shift and bring it to me. I have to take baby steps. I have to submit more queries to agents and publishers. I have to apply to teach at more yoga studios. I may need to go out on more dates to find Mr. Right too—even if I hate dating. Taking baby steps can be really scary, especially after receiving rejection or bad experiences. Just because I received one rejection from one agent, doesn’t mean a person who said I’d never get published is right. For peat sakes! Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul received 145 rejections before his New York Times best seller was accepted! Who do I think I am?? Well, I’m just someone who received some negativity and lack of support at some point in my life. Maybe you can relate? I have to recognize that the person who belittled me, or called me stupid, or said I’d never make it, was vomiting negativity—it had nothing to do with me. And I’ve accepted that intellectually. I’ve forgiven the few people in my life who were like that. But on a deep level. Maybe even on the subconscious level, these sort of emotionally abusive comments left water marks that reveal themselves in the forms of insecurity or lack of drive to keep trying. I have to recognize that each rejection does not reflect my worth or ability to succeed, and then take a deep breath, surround myself with supportive peps and try again. I’m now writing on my 3rd novel. I’m now working at two yoga studios. I’m now officially going out on several first dates that help me realize exactly what I don’t want! ha ha. 🙂  … But it’s all helping me on my journey!

Baby steps lead to amazing journeys. And sometimes the journeys go to the most surprising places.

So here’s to a New Year filled with baby steps that lead us to where we feel loved, heard, accepted, creative and joyful. And in between those baby steps, I’ll take the time to meditate. Maybe you’ll join me? Lets place our big picture goals and intentions (without attaching to specific details!) inside a bubble. Lets breathe deeply, close our eyes and allow it to float toward us, in God’s time.