“I got a rejection letter from an editor at HarperCollins, who included a report from his professional reader. This report shredded my first-born novel, laughed at my phrasing, twirled my lacy pretensions around and gobbed into the seething mosh pit of my stolen clichés. As I read the report, the world became very quiet and stopped rotating. What poisoned me was the fact that the report’s criticisms were all absolutely true. The sound of my landlady digging in the garden got the world moving again. I slipped the letter into the trash…knowing I’d remember every word.” – David Mitchell
Two days ago I was in a pumped up state of mind. Probably something to do with spending time with my great nieces and nephews aged 9, 6 and 2. Children have an innate belief that anything is possible and I think a little rubbed off on me.
As an adult, you face knockbacks in both your career and in your relationships so that innate belief begins to wane over time, but this week I was feeling brave. I felt I was ready.
I approached two Literary Agents. Two emailed submissions. I hit send and my first-born novel, with all its soon to be exposed flaws, disappeared silently into the ether.
Now, the bravado has faded a little. I look at my own manuscript and I can see flaws. Little chinks in the armour of my first attempt at fiction that suggest I am not quite ready to be exposed to those who decide whether or not my labour of blood, sweat, and tears should be exposed to a wider audience.
So I am bracing myself for the inevitability of being relegated to the slush pile, but comfort myself with the thought that my slush will be added to some of the best.