Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Feeling Rejected? Cait London Has a Recovery Plan

Good morning, all! Welcome Cait London, who'll be riding along with us today and drawing on a wealth of experience as she shares her recipes for "rejection therapy."

By way of intro (as if our friend needs one) Cait is the author of almost 70 romance novels in different subgenres. She enjoys writing, painting, and photography.



Her
psychic triplet trilogy concludes with FOR HER EYES ONLY.
Previous books: AT THE EDGE and A STRANGER’S TOUCH. Do visit her web page and take a look at samples of her wonderful work in all three arts.


Now, Cait, with all your talent, are you going to tell us you've experienced a bit of rejection? (Forgive me for taking comfort in having some company!) Do tell, m'dear. Here's Cait...


A writer’s story is often rejected by an agent or publisher. Their wrongful dismissal of a writer’s blood-and-sweat creation occurs frequently and indiscriminately to all writers, of every level. My take on the healing process, as it applies to writer-rejection, is that it’s all about attitude. Anyone experiencing rejection, in any form, is welcome to use this therapy:


Attitude Adjustment, Take Mine: Chirpy people, bah humbug. They’re depressing. Canned phrases like “Look on the bright side” make me want to urp. “It wasn’t meant to happen” makes me want to make something really happen—to them. Consistently happy people grate on your nerves, don’t they? Don’t they just make you want to run for the hills and escape them?


Basic Fact: I’ve decided that Ever-Happy writers/people are actually not happy; they just don’t know how to wallow well in the depths of rejection-misery. They’re afraid to let go and reveal that they lack wallowing-in-rejection ability. Overall, as a group, writers have the edge on misery-wallowing.

Balancing Nature: A balance of Ups and Downs is essential. Accept that Downs actually enable the Ups. It follows then, that these eternally happy people are actually down, but don’t know it. Poor Things. They must be led into the darkness, so they can understand true happiness. As a career-writer for some years now, I have fine-tuned my Up-Down ability into a sport.


How to Wallow: I can wallow with the best. Here’s an example:

When I first began sending out novel proposals, I was a divorcee with 3 teens. (Note: To those following my blogs, you’re not going to get an evil War of the Roses story here.) As a result, I already had an edge on understanding failure of a project, which I put to good use when story rejections arrived. I handled rejections by lying on the couch, a crocheted afghan wrapped around me. I moaned periodically, turned and stared at the back of the couch. Then I’d drag the afghan back to bed, where I would lie and stare at the ceiling fan, the paddles still or rotating. Then I’d drag the afghan back to the couch and begin the process again.


As Others See You: It’s important to let others see your misery. A friend used to watch me. That was her sport. I think she was betting on just when I’d make the switch between couch and bed, timing the durations.


To Cope, Eat Well: After one rejection in which I was obviously, absolutely right and the editor was wrong, I ate an entire box of chocolates. I am not a chocolate lover, but I was really Down and the box I’d intended as a neighbor’s gift was handy. As a result, I was sick for days, and had quite the little bathroom condition, too. And I had to buy her another box of chocolates.


The Secret of Healing: As a beginning writer, I didn’t know how to wallow correctly. The secret to wallowing well is to buddy-wallow. This can done on the phone: you listen to another’s rejection story and they return the favor. By sharing each other’s rejection-misery, you can enrich and deepen it to its true black, bottomless hole. The secret also depends on balance. If your buddy is Up, while you are Down, or vice-versa, it’s impossible to wallow well. However, if you have leftover Down to spare, it is essential to share, to spread it evenly with everyone you know. Spare no one in your path.


Best Recommendation: An unsuccessful rejection-wallow means that misery will be extended for a time. It’s best to really dig in, wallow and get it all out.


Result: Then you can be a Chirpy-Happy person, too.

I welcome all challengers in the sport of rejection-wallowing. If you have experienced rejection of any kind, please share your healing technique.


Note: You can blog with Cate anytime you need more therapy. All the photographs you see here are Cait's.



Hey, Cait, congratulations on making the New York Times bestseller list! We'll want to get a copy of FOR HER EYES ONLY before Amazon runs out. (I'm enjoying mine right now!)

46 comments:

Cait London said...

Thanks, Kathleen. Great intro and I'm happy to be back with you. BTW, that rose? I've taken my grandchildren's photos and graphically inserted them into the petals, so that they are peeking out. I'm collecting photos of their toes/feet to do a whole bush.

Dina said...

Congratulations Cait.

Betina Krahn said...

Cait, you hit the mother-load with this topic! Rejection-- you DO have to learn to deal with it in this business.

My favorite technique is my martyred author pose, a version of the martyred mother pose that was perfected by my grandmother and passed down to me. I sit still, staring off into space, near tears, looking noble and bereft and betrayed. . . until I get some attention or leg cramps, whichever somes first.

Then I let somebody tempt me with some sweets (preferably chocolate or strawberry-rubarb pie or and ice cream sundae from Hagan Daaz) and soon I'm roaring back with a diatribe on how someday those idiots will be sorry and reminding myself of Harry Potter's initial rejection by every editor in the known world.

This process used to take me three days and involve some tears, too. Over time I've perfected it and now it only takes an hour or two, tops.

There is something to be said for experience, eh?

Cait London said...

That's right, Betina. They'll be sorry. They'll pay. We'll have our revenge and then we'll be too good and too highly paid to listen to them even grovel, right? :)

It's all in the technique. Sometimes, I'd wallow in that afghan and then gently roll to the floor, wrapped in it. Sighs help. Now, when you're staring off into space, isolated in your so-called misery, do you sigh? Sighs are important.

Or crashing pots and pans around.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Betina, I love the "martyred mother" pose in all its incarnations. My sister and I used to give each other advanced when Mama was doing hers, which we rated according to the sigh. The quick sigh meant Mama was close to giving in if slightly annoyed. Long sigh meant she was far from a yes but coax-able. What we really dreaded was the double sigh. If you got the double sigh, you were in over your head. Mama was shouldering the weight of the world. If you managed to wheedle a yes out of her, it was impossible to truly enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Playground Monitor said...

scribbling notes... afghan, chocolate, wallow, balance...

I'll admit that I've had very little rejection with the short stories I write. But I'm sure it'll come fast and furious when I finally finish the novel (which I WILL next month during NaNoWriMo). I will keep all this and refer back to it. I only have the husband to witness my wallowing since the kids are grown and gone, so I guess I'll have to wallow after five o'clock. ;-)

Marilyn

Kylie said...

I'm not so much a wallower as an obsesser, LOL. So I give myself permission to obsess about the problem for 24 hours. (I have been known, in times of great duress, to extend the period to 36 hours.) During this time I indulge in the deluge of negativity that accompanies bad news.

I'm by nature a problem solver so I have to give myself permission to obsess until I come up with solutions. Not that there's necessarily a solution to rejection, but I need to *make a plan*. When I have a plan of action, the obsessive period is over!

Cait London said...

Marilyn, when wallowing, it is all important to have witnesses and hold them hostage, until you're done obsessing as Kylie does.
The question is: How deep and wide can obsessing go? What physical things do you do when obsessing? Sigh? Groan?

Helen Brenna said...

Congrats on making the NYT list, Cait!!

I'm not much of a wallower either. Rejection tends to piss me off more than anything. When I settle down, I can usually rationalize that the rejection wasn't personal and move on.

That seems to be the key for me - doing my best to not take the rejection personally.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Kylie, I absolutely hear you on the problem solving. I'm compelled to "fix this and move on."

But sometimes I procrastinate. When I get obsession, the need to fix, and procrastination going all at once, the mind boggles. Boggled mind=temporary paralysis.

Maybe that's when a good wallow helps the most. Take the time for a good wallow, engage the wiggle muscles, shake yourself loose, and then move on. Maybe it's not quite a plan, but it might be a step in that direction.

Cait London said...

Helen, we are here today to take every sort of rejection very personally. :) BTW, your PR photo is super, and congratulations on your RITA.

In reality now, after a LOT of the good, the bad and ugly experience in publishing, I understand that maybe 25% of ideas major writers float through their publishers make it completely. So when getting an idea turn-down or the "let's tweak" deal, I usually step way back and go for a drive or something, mulling the situation.

That editorial "Tweak" word makes me shudder.

Well. I see this is a serious bunch. No one yet has mentioned drinking a whole bottle of wine. :)

Cait London said...

WooHoo to Cindy Gerard's #15 on the NYTs! Congrats, Cindy.

And hey, Michelle, that is a fab Nocturne cover.

Debra Dixon said...

Cait--

Ha! Love it. My technique is to skip the misery-wallow and go straight to the righteous-wallow..."How stupid are those people?" Yeah, I know. It takes a certain amount of ego to pull that off.

Then I move on. I'm not a "happy chirpy" person but I'm fairly settled in my idea that I have opportunities and see a rejection as an invitation to pursue a new opportunity.

Did I mention I had fabulous parents?

Gary said...

Wallow? Wallow? No, not me. "Brood?" Well, maybe.

"Slip into a little self-pity?" Oh, yes.

But mostly I rely on the "Is the whole world stupid?" response.

~ Gary

Danielle said...

I allow myself to be really bummed the first day. Next day it's back to work. It makes me strive to be a better writer so that one day they will realize they let a good thing go past when they rejected my novel. LOL.

Cait London said...

Good old Gary. He's a friend (if this is the right Gary), and his memoir has just come out, 7 Wheelchairs. He's had a bit of rejection for his memoir that ended happily with publication. He's just had his first exhausting bout with PR.

Debra, the righteous-wallow is great. Adds a whole lotta dignity, eh? And I go with Ego. We need that confidence. And the nay-sayers are wrong, wrong, wrong.

Cait London said...

Aha! Danielle gets bummed. Bummed is good.

Um. Describe "bummed", please? Is it the same as wallowing, or more to the "dumps" side? Or maybe "pissed" as someone offered earlier?

Kathleen Eagle said...

Gary, of course you brood. That makes you eligible to be a Romance Hero.

Michele Hauf said...

Thanks, Cait! I love that cover too.

As for rejections, I wallow. I do the cat nap thing. Collapse on my bed, call the kitties to come in and commiserate with me. Then, usually by the end of the misery-fest, I've realized the rejection was for a reason, or else come of with a way to make the story better.

I'm much better at wallowing when I'm sick. Then I can lay around for days!

Cait London said...

Kathleen's Love Story:

You Never Can Tell about Kathleen Eagle. I told her not to Ride A Painted Pony to see A View Of The River, or she might see a Mystic Horseman, who rides in Fire And Rain. But she was looking for The Last Good Man, because What The Heart Knows is not to be twarted, even by me. I Have Reason to Believe that theirs is a Sunrise Song, This Time Forever more.

More (SSE/SIMs):
She's a Class Act and I hope that Someday Soon, For Old Times' Sake, she'll tell me about those sweet Georgia Nights. One of those Brave Hearts, she knew she would Surrender, because she found Something Worth Keeping, even with the Bad Moon Rising. To Each His Own, and it must have been one of those Candles In The Night love-thingies, because A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Delivery Room, when More Than A Miracle arrived.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Cait - thanks for the congrats and Woo Woo to you, too on the NYT! You go, girl.
As to wallowing - I'm the champeen of the world!! My phone lines buzz, my grinds as I fire off e-mail bemoaning my poor pitiful self - because in MY world, I'M always the problem, not the editor. I'm a hack. I'm a fraud. I'm a failure. I'm a .... writer?? It lasts a day or so, then, like Helen I get pissed. Decide that I'll show them! And I'm off and running again - until the next time.

Cait London said...

Cindy is attempting to challenge my Champion Wallower title....

So. This may be old hat to some of you NYTs people, but Amazon is offering a discount deal on all 3 of my trilogy books. I haven't seen that before, or maybe missed it. But it is a story arc, all threads answered in the conclusion, FOR HER EYES ONLY. I'm suffering separation anxiety now.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hi, Cait!!! Hi, RWTTDers!!! Nice to see youz all! I feel rather like I'm digitally stalking Cait these days...

You know, when you do what I do, rejection can be almost daily. I talk about it as "getting 'beat up.'" Like, I'm always doggin exclusives or authors I iwant to visit RBTB or excerpts I want to tease. But not everybody wants to give em up -- not authors, publishers, and especially not Publicity Poobahs. And howza bout this: Not everybody trusts me at first; I've gotta prove I'm not gonna trash/burn or spill secrets. So I get lots of rejection in lots of little and big ways.

Now, you and I know I'm a marvelous person. And I pride myself on being really nice and fair, so rejection and lack of trust (sort of like how you may feel that a publisher doesn't "'trust' that you're a talent they can take a chance on or count on to produce" when they reject your mannie)eats at me.

I like this idea of sharing my rejection, except that'd mean my friends would have to be on the phone w/me every day. So I've learned to suck it up and, when it feels really awful, ,to take an afternoon on the couch w/out email access and with fave comfort reads.

And while I'm no "Chirpy" chick, I kind of think I'm pretty good at helping folks see their strengths and to find their options after we've commiserated. I think that's what 'friends in the biz" really are for.

Holy cow! Look how I've waxed all Kathy Eagle here! OK. I'm finished for now...

Cait London said...

Now I know for sure that you're stalking me, Michelle. :)

Glad you shared, really. However, I had no idea that anyone would reject You. You're doing a great job, quite a unique talent.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Cait!!! I feel as though I've been gloriously oded, and by a famous writer. And with my own titles! Little did I know my titles were so telling. (May I quote you? With proper attribution, natch.)

Kathleen Eagle said...

Hey there, you with the stars in your eyes! And in your crown. Yes, you, MichelleB, we miss you up here in the North Country.

Little did I know it was possible to wax all Kathy Eagle.

Oh no! I'm melt-iiiiinnng....

Cait London said...

You may. Glorious is as glorious does :)

BTW, I'm looking for another victim. :)

Magdalena Scott said...

I wallow rather thoroughly, I think. I have a nice comfy afghan and soft snuggly pillows on the day bed. That way I don't have to move from couch to bed...too much effort because I'm practically incapable of movement when in full wallow mode. Cait, I do drink! But, um, usually it's Earl Grey with honey for wallowing.

My "time" limit is this: I wait til I know my cousin is available, call her, tell her my very sad tale (probably shedding a few tears). She listens, commiserates for about thirty seconds, and then starts giving me orders to suck it up and move on. That girl is a great motivator! (And perhaps a bit chirpy, but in a good way.)

Cait London said...

Hi, Magdalena! Guys, this girl has the cutest smile.

Mm. Suck it up. That's 2Xs that's come up. But it's great having them on your side for whatever time there is, right?

Now I have a recliner and can wallow on it. It's all in the preparation, tho, stacking wallowing-stuffs around me. Phone/cell phone/green tea/remote controls for music/radio/TV/movies, magazines, catalogs to wish pamper-me products, etc. Yep, have to stock the area with wallowing goodies.

BTW, did I say I'm in separation anxiety, missing my 3 guys, Neil/Marcus/Owen in my psychic triplet trilogy. Loved 'em. Simply loved 'em.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Sisters, girlfriends, female relatives are must-haves for wallowing. Have you noticed that husbands don't get it? They think you expect them to move a mountain for you or something.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Speaking of men dealing with special women, Cait, your trilogy features women with psychic powers. How did you come up with men who could complement such unique women?

Cait London said...

Ah, the men, the men. While these psychic triplets have the same basic look as their Celtic seer ancestor, there is something also connecting the males. This trilogy with a story arc was not an easy write, that is, the threads began in the 1st bk developed in the second and concluded in the 3rd. Some were historical threads, some psychic stuff, i.e. I have my own runes and am a little bit into that. In a former life, I was a South American rain-maker, doncha know.

Anyway, I worked really hard to match the males to the threads connecting them, to the threads connecting the sisters back to their Celtic seer ancestor and her Viking chieftain. Again, quite the little project, esp. when danger escalates throughout the individual stories.

Cait London said...

I wish everyone to know that I am a lady. When Kathleen posted about waxing all over, did I say anything about bikinis? No. :)

ddurance said...

Cait, I like your attitude! Or should I say, lack thereof. LOL I know I've been feeling this way for sometime. Pooh-pooh on all those smiling happy people, but come to think of it, there aren't many of those right now because the economy is so stinky!

Deidre

Christie said...

I think I'm a combination of wallower/brooder. Hey, I'm a wallooder! But that sounds kinda chirpy, which I have been accused of being before.

Thanks, Cait, for being with us today! And big congrats!

Shirley McCann said...

So tell me, Cait, do you STILL have to deal with rejections after all the success you've had? Or are you simply referring to past experience?

Cait London said...

Hey, I deal with past, present and future rejections all the time. I'm experienced :)

But here's a little mystery for Kylie Brant:

While Bringing Benjy Home, Moriority mulled the crime. The backstory was deep and twisted and everyone else had given up on finding the killer. At times, Moriority felt like The Last Warrior, Close To The Edge of sorting out the the victim’s Truth or Lies. The victim, Alias Smith and Jones at other times, had been An Irresistible Man, but now it looked as if his partner, his wife, and/or her father, was his murderer(s). Unscrambling motives, the story ran something like this: The vic and his Undercover Bride, one Hard to Handle woman, had been on surveillance, Guarding Raine, a child Born In Secret, sort of a Friday’s Child. The vic wasn’t the Rancher’s Choice for his daughter, and believed the romance was more of an Entrapment by a man who was Hard to Resist. His daughter had been Falling Hard and Fast at the Heartbreak Ranch and wasn’t about to follow her father, McLain’s Law, and she’d been warned by the department about taking an Undercover Lover. Their courtship had been more of a Dangerous Deception as both felt it wasn’t The Business of Strangers. Friends said he’d been Hard to Tame, but they’d seemed like a good match, both Falling Hard and Fast. And now he was dead. The body position caused Moriority to believe the vic was standing In Sight Of The Enemy when he died.

Cait London said...

People, please know how much fun it has been to visit. (Saying my goodbyes and thank-yous in case this T-storm hits soon.) I hope you enjoyed the journey with me. Maybe I should list my titles for the trilogy. AT THE EDGE (Claire the empath), A STRANGER'S TOUCH (Tempest has psychic hands) and FOR HER EYES ONLY (Leona the clairvoyant who has everything, but wants none of it.) To save her family, Leona must enter her psychic abilities, but if she does, she can never turn back.

Cait London said...

If this is the Shirley I know posting, she's quite the short story mystery writer in Woman's World this week, and she's written great women's in True Confessions,etc., too.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Cait, it's been so much fun trading recovery secrets. Maybe we should all get together on a 12-step book for obsessive-compulsive writers with fragile egos.

Thanks so much for hanging with the Riders today!

Cait London said...

My pleasure. Make sure that Kylie gets her Ode, will you?

I'll be around in the next couple days, in case anyone else wants to share rejection therapy modes.

Sean and Anna said...

My therapy is watching old movies while wrapped in a cozy blanket, perhaps drinking hot tea. Not fancy, but effective.

Helen Brenna said...

Waxing all Kathleen Eagle! LOL Too funny. Kathy you're a good sport.

And Cait thanks about the rita and photo! And for visiting. Fun comments here!

Cait London said...

Sean and Anna, a cozy blanket and tea usually works.

And Helen, I'm really glad for you. Congrats again. And thanks for allowing me to visit.

squiresj said...

I kept your email yesterday planning to get back to this blog but didn't make it. So I'm a day late.
Rejection, heart ache, or surgeries even is great to deal with when you have a friend there with you through the down times. It doesn't matter whether it is rejection from a Publisher or rejection from a friend it is good to have someone to share with.
I finally made it here. Have a great day.

Cait London said...

Hi, SquiresJ:

You're absolutely right about having a friend there. And I'm glad you made it. I said I'd hang around for a few days.