Today's post almost didn't happen because I'm not feeling as peppy as I normally do. Got bad news last night: a publisher that has had my novel draft for a year (you read that right) just sent me a form-letter "no." It hurts more than the average rejection because 1) the publisher had the draft for a year and didn't feel the need to reject me earlier OR say something other than a form letter and 2) every time I talked to an employee of this publisher, they had only good things to say about my book and my prospects. I feel led on, even though there was no contract and no one did badly by me. For those familiar with Sense and Sensibility, I guess you could say I've been Willoughby-ed by the publisher.
How am I doing? Meh. Better than when my last publisher went out of business. That hurt bad for days. But still. I feel zombie-like, unmotivated, and I have little appetite. I phase between sorrow and anger and guilt for feeling angry when I wasn't really wronged. Mostly, I just feel like this:
I'd look like that, too, if I could afford chocolates. And was blonde. And had a furry purple pillow.
Yep, a rejection is a rejection, whether from a publisher or a love interest. Shall we list the similarities?
1. You invest time, energy, and most of all, hope, with both. That's why it hurts when it ends.
2. When they say, "It's not you, it's me," it's hard to believe. You spend too much time after trying to figure out what you did wrong and feel like you're bad at everything.
3. There's no rhyme or reason to a success or failure. It depends on circumstances and on the match between people. But knowing that doesn't stop item #2 from happening.
4. You don't know how you'll ever succeed with someone else, although everyone keeps telling you there are plenty of fish in the sea until you want to scream.
5. Going to the library or bookstore feels insulting, in the way watching a romantic comedy after a break-up or going to a popular date restaurant alone. Like, "Everyone else can do it, look at all of them, so why can't I?" So you end up back at #2.
6. It hurts to think of that publisher and about the things you shared, like your book.
7. You dream of becoming wildly successful without them so they can see you never needed them anyway.
8. It does a number on your make-up and dietary choices.
9. (When it happens a lot) You start to wonder if you're cursed.
10. Even though people try to cheer you up, in the end what really heals is time. Though having a shoulder to cry on (or a blog) doesn't hurt either.