Archive for April, 2007

I’ll Be at Third Place Books on Friday, May 4th

Yes, that’s right. I said “May.” Can you believe it?

Where did April go? (Oh, right. Taxes!)

But good news, this means Mother’s Day is right around the corner. If you’ll be near Lake Forest Park, Washington, come on by and pick up a signed copy (or two)!

Here’s the details:

Third Place Books
Friday, May 4th at 6:30 p.m. @ Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155, 206-366-3316,, Free


Dealing with Actual Rejection

As promised, this is part two on the topic of rejection…

Let’s assume you get past your fear of rejection to the point where you are sending out enough writing to garner plenty of rejection.

This is great!

Why would I say that?

Because once your writing is rubbing up against the folks who may wish to buy rights to your work, you actually have a chance of being published.

But what if you are sending plenty of work out and receiving plenty of rejection in return, but not as much success as you would like?

There are several things you can do to change this:

1. Pay close attention to what you are submitting. Does it represent your best writing efforts? Does it sparkle, sing, and shine? If it doesn’t, I can tell you as an editor that second-best is never as good as best. An editor will always go for the polished piece of writing that is ready for publication rather than the piece that has “potential.” I know, for me, as a writing instructor, I deal with potential all the time. But as an editor, I’m looking for “good to go.”

2. Analyze the comments are you receiving back. If nothing or at least nothing that tells you anything about your writing (this is common, btw), you may wish to enlist the services of a professional editor or teacher, who will work with you to help you identify and overcome your weaknesses so that you can submit the kind of work that gets selected for publication.

3. Solicit feedback from other sources. Mentors may help you by critiquing your work from time to time, but it’s probably a better idea to ask your writing buddy or writing group to critique your work, if this is something you need on an ongoing basis.

4. Consider the frequency of your submissions. I have discovered in my Pitching Practice class that the more students put themselves through the query-writing paces, the better queries they write. And the more, generally speaking, they just start to “get” the way the relationship between writers and editors works.

5. Consider the level of professionalism you employ when submitting your work. Perhaps you write well and appropriately, but your submission methods could use a little spit-shine. This is an area that requires your attention, as most editors and agents I know appreciate a certain amount of formality. They also definitely appreciate being treated with respect and with consideration for how hard they work.

So, if you are thinking, “What have editors done for me lately?” You might want to pull a J.F.K. and ask instead, “What have I done for editors?”

In case you haven’t heard me say it before, there is not anyone in the publishing industry—and this goes for writers, agents, editors, sales folks, and everyone—who is not working extremely hard in a very competitive environment.

Writing is hard work requiring concentration, effort, thoughtfulness, and so much more. Are you willing to devote that kind of energy to your writing career?

If so, you will lick that bad boy, rejection, eventually.

If you’d like a second opinion on this topic, Wendy Burt has written about it recently in Writers on the Rise.

Dealing with Fear of Rejection

Heiddi asked if I could address this topic. So I thought I should break it down in two parts. This part is about dealing with the fear of rejection and I’ll do another on dealing with actual rejection, later.

Fear of rejection is a cunning and baffling block for many writers, both aspiring and seaoned. An aspiring writer might allow herself to write (like in a journal or a blog) but never submit her work to paying markets because of this fear. And an experienced writer might have some publication success and then balk at taking her career to the next level where rejection is surely more likely.

If I have learned one thing in the past seven-plus years that I’ve been writing for publication, it’s this: You are going to get rejected. It’s a fact and it’s helpful to develop the capacity to roll with it. For some, dealing with rejection takes more practice than others, but there is really no shame in however much time and energy you need to invest.

The proactive way to respond to a fear of rejection is to identify it, address it, and work on it until it is no longer, or is at least less of, an issue. Who can say if these things ever really go away completely.

I can promise you this. If you are willing to deal with your personal challenges as a writer, they won’t dog you the way they will if you avoid them. That’s just like everything in life, right?

I don’t think fear of rejection is an easy issue to contend with because it’s very personal and quite emotionally loaded, for some folks. Think about it, your fear of rejection as a writer may go all the way back to a childhood memory or even a recurring pattern of rejection that you have experienced throughout your life. (I’m not saying this is true for the person who asked the question, I’m just saying it’s possible for anyone.)

So I just don’t want to give some kind of blithe response that makes it sound like, “Oh fear of rejection? That’s no big deal. Get over it and move on.”

Maybe, for you, a fear of rejection is a big deal. And it won’t go away until you look at it more deeply. I can’t help you with that per se because I’m not a doctor. But I can recommend some books for creatives that can help quite a bit.

Keep in mind that these books are not insta-cures. You may wish to work with them over time. And as I always recommend, you may want to not only read them but also engage in the exercises to experience the full benefits.

But whatever you do, don’t park your writing dreams until you are “cured” of your fear of rejection. Because, as I said, you may never completely recover from it, but you may certainly learn how to manage it so that it is no longer a block for you.

Okay, here’s those titles:

By Eric Maisel

Toxic Criticism


A Life in the Arts

By Julia Cameron

The Right to Write


The Artist’s Way

I hope this is helpful. Does anyone else have any book suggestions or personal experience to share?

Narrow Your Focus Before Pitching Your Book in WritersWeekly

That’s the topic of my “success story” that appears in today’s issue of WritersWeekly.

View the entire article here.

Subscribe to WritersWeekly here. You’ll receive a free e-book on how to become a freelance writer with over 100 markets!

Why not send in your own success story? Editor and publisher Angela Hoy pays $30 for each one, miraculously, upon acceptance (!!!). I believe she is always looking for good success stories.

I can almost guarantee it will be the fasted paycheck you ever get for writing, once your piece is accepted, of course. Send your submissions to: Angela Hoy

As always, before you submit, read and digest some success stories that have already achieved publication. It will make all the difference.

And hey, if you know about other fast-paying editors, please, list them in the comments section! 😉

I (Heart) My Publicist!

Here’s why…the coolest postcard EVER!

Writer Mama Postcard

Your Career, Your Way Challenge: Words That Describe You

Friend and fellow writer mama Wendy Burt passed this quote on to me today, and I felt compelled to share it here.

I have written eleven books, but each time I think, “Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.”

~ Maya Angelou

I’ve heard this called “Imposter Syndrome” by Valerie Young. When she became aware of the feelings of not being good enough no matter how much she accomplished, she decided to become an expert on the topic and help others.

And so she has. She is also editor and publisher of the newsletter Changing Course, which I’ve been reading for years. Valerie is a great example of a person who has identified, clarified and grown her expertise into a solid platform. She has been a great role model for me.

Does anyone else relate to the Angelou quote or the idea of Imposter Syndrome?

Today, as promised in the first issue of The Writer Mama, we are going to choose words that describe us. Perhaps, like Valerie Young, those words will lead us in the direction of an authentic, organic, and sustainable platform.

Here are my words:


















Notice that some of my words seems to contradict each other. Well, that’s just human nature. People are complex and contradictory. Let’s each celebrate that about ourselves and each other.

I found this exercise to be eye-opening. Feel free to post your words in the comments and see what you notice about yourself over the course of the week, as a result.

Thanks for sharing! I’ll have more at the end of the week.

Writer Heaven: The Sylvia Beach Hotel

Thanks to the Sylvia Beach Hotel for hosting me after my presentation with the Willamette Writers Oregon Coast Chapter last week!

The Alice Walker Room

Here’s a sneak peek into the Alice Walker Room, where I stayed (yes that’s me in the mirror). And what a coincidence, Alice Walker is one of my favorite novelists and that was the room they offered me.

The hotel was everything it was cracked up to be and even more inspirational than I imagined. I could have stayed for a week…but I needed to get back home to my big, fat, messy life. That’s how I’ve been thinking about my work-home balance lately. It’s the only thing that makes me feel better about how utterly imperfect it all is (and yet so perfect in all of its imperfection).

henry-miller-restrooms.gifCut to a photo of the Henry V. Miller Memorial bathrooms plaque from the basement of the hotel. I cracked up when I saw that. The ladies room is “Tropic of Cancer” and the mens room is “Tropic of Capricorn.” That’s life, right? It’s messy and you just roll with it. Then they name a couple of bathrooms after your books. Ha-ha! 🙂

Syvia Beach Breakfast View

If I want to recall a more zen-like moment, I can always flash back to my breakfast in the dining room of the Sylvia Beach Hotel. Here’s what I saw while I munched on homemade banana bread and nut bars. Ahhhh….

So the laundry is piled sky-high. So the kitchen floor is filthy again (and I just mopped it—at least it seems like I did). So I have not cleaned out the refrigerator in a really long time (my mom asked about that).

So what!

It’s a gorgeous, sunny spring day and my husband’s birthday tomorrow. When I’m done here today—you can probably tell I’m pooped—I’m going to turn off this computer and walk away for forty-eight hours. I mean really shut it off and enjoy some quality time with family this weekend.

Really, I’m not kidding.

I’m going to do it. This is not an idle threat.

Okay, tease me later when you catch me online.

I’ll just say, in my own defense, I plan on barely being online this weekend.

That sounds about right.

I leave you with an amazing “portrait” of all of the authors who have rooms at the Sylvia Beach Hotel named after them. I wish the photo was better. They will be getting a postcard version soon. And I’ll be back with the painters name…it’s around here somewhere.

  Hope you have a great weekend!

Authors portrait Sylvia Beach Hotel

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