Posts Tagged ‘bookstore’


I began this blog one year ago with the sole purpose of sharing my experiences in the world of writing with anyone who was interested in hearing it. I knew going into it that one of the side effects of this would be having to broadcast my failures to whoever happened upon the site. I also knew that after fifteen or twenty years, people might lose interest in hearing about my latest rejection letter. But surprisingly, I have had a lot of fun with it, and have even garnered a strong following of readers to whom I am very grateful. This proves to me that I have done the right thing; that by sharing my experiences, I am relating to people who are going through similar struggles in their own writing careers. Most of all, this is proof to me that all writer’s must go through this very dark, very uncertain place. It may last years… and if so, then so be it. This is the reality of this business, and in maintaining the integrity of my blogs fundamental purpose, I have sworn to tell the truth about my journey, even when it sucks.

That being said, here is where I am right now:

Since finishing my first novel, The White Room in October of 2010, I have received exactly 156 rejection forms to date. As an unpublished author, this is not uncommon. I understand it. I did not expect an agent or publisher to read my query letter and rush to publish me. As an unpublished author, I am an unproven investment, a high risk which, especially at this time in the market, very few people in the business are willing to take a chance on. Not to mention, the subject of The White Room has some heavy competition right now.

I haven’t yet taken one of my 156 rejection letters personally and here is why: none of the rejection issuers have even read any of my work, save a handful who have asked for a small writing sample. And of those few, I’ve received no usable feedback besides the usual, “sorry, but, well… the market…” So how could I take even 156 rejections as anything that relates in any way to my skills as a writer? I can’t. This is just how it works, and I came into this game with my eyes open, my spine in tact, and my expectations brutally realistic.

Still, I have been asked numerous times why I don’t self-publish. I have seen their brows furrow when I admit the amount of rejections I have received. I know there are people who think I must be a very poor writer given the lack of interest I have had on my novel. I also know there are people who believe this is a pipe dream and that I should start spending my time doing something more lucrative. But I won’t do any of those things because the truth is, I love this game. I am addicted to it, and despite all these “failures”, there are also some little successes along the way that make it worthwhile.

The White Room is currently being looked at by a publisher who liked the concept, liked the writing and wanted to see more. Shortly after that publisher asked to see it, another one popped up, asking me for the same. In this business, it’s considered poor etiquette to continue submitting your work to other agencies when one of them has taken a significant interest in your work, so unfortunately, I had to explain to the second publisher that the novel is currently being looked at by another house. I know these things are in no way a promise of anything; still, this attention is a true honor; this small shot of optimism is why I play the game.

If I am rejected (again), I will not be bitter. I will be disappointed, of course, but I will keep trying. Even if The White Room never sees the inside of a bookstore (or a Kindle!) I will keep trying to get it published, and more importantly, I will keep writing new novels (Beautiful Monster is complete and being submitted!) and MOST important of all… I will get better and better at my craft. I will be a professional and I will keep writing because that’s my job. I’m in this for one thing and one thing only: to write. Getting published is just a potential bonus.

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     I don’t believe it’s possible to not be creative.  While some people may deem themselves “artists”, and others may think they don’t have a creative bone in their bodies, the only difference between these two groups, in my opinion, is their opposing senses of self-perception. But the truth is, we are human and we create… whether we mean to, whether we want to… or not.

     I’ve come to believe that, with or without our consent, the mind refuses to not be creative in some form or another, and that if creativity is suppressed, it will find whatever cracks it can to seep through and get the message to us. One of the most fascinating ways the mind tricks us into being creative is through our dreams.

     I read an article a while back in which Stephenie Meyer said that one night she had a dream about a girl in a forest with a boy. The girl was heartbroken and didn’t know what to do because she was in love with him but knew they couldn’t be together because he was a vampire and she was human. When she woke up, she wrote down what she could remember from the dream, and then started asking questions like how did the couple get into the forest, and where were they going from there. And that is how the whole Twilight series began.

     I have a friend who is a writer and he gets many of his ideas from a recurring dream where he is in a bookstore. In the dream, he is surrounded by books he has never seen or heard of. He browses books and reads the premise on the back covers, then when he wakes up, he takes those ideas and begins writing them.

    My own dreams generally make little to no sense, but once in a while, I dream something that either solves a major problem in my story for me, or gives me an entirely new story idea, proving to me that being uncreative is not possible. One dream in particular stands out to me as a good example of how the mind’s need to be creative imposes its will upon us.

     In this dream, I was in a monster-sized Barnes and Noble. I say monster-sized because it had to have been a thirty story building, and it was full of books. Rows and rows of books. Wall to wall, ceiling to floor books. It was beautiful. But that’s beside the point. I was sitting near a window at a small table by myself. I knew I was waiting for someone, but I didn’t know who. For some reason, in this dream anyway, that made perfect sense.

     A boy approached my table. I guess he wasn’t a boy really, but more of a young man. I remember looking up and being a bit stunned by this guy’s ornamental appearance. He had curly blond hair, eerily flawless skin, perfect teeth, and he seemed to exist inside a golden globe of light that somehow radiated from inside him. I knew this was the person I had been waiting for.

    The guy sat down and introduced himself. He told me his name was Alejandro. I remember being a little confused by his name. He didn’t look like an “Alejandro” to me, but whatever, I figured~ not my business. He was very cordial and smiled at me non-stop. He reached into a bag that he had apparently brought with him and pulled out a few sheets of paper that were stapled together. I looked it over and realized it was a resume of sorts.

    At some point, I realized I was giving this guy some sort of employment interview. He seemed eager to get the job, and although I don’t remember specifics, he went into a long monologue about his experience and the ways it would benefit me if I hired him. As he spoke, I noticed he had golden halos around the irises of his eyes. I asked him about them and he told me he was an angel who wanted to be the star character in my next story.

     I don’t remember anything else that we talked about; the details of the conversation were lost as soon as I woke up, but I guess I must have decided to “hire him”, because about a week later, I got this great idea about an angel whose original  mission is intercepted, landing him in a trailer park in Podunk, America where he must learn what it means to interact as a human, to help others as a human, and above all, to find and maintain his faith as a human.

     This dream was one of the most compelling and fascinating moments in my life. I would have never thought the mind, especially when unconscious, could conjure up and direct such effective methods of creative execution. Since dreaming this, I have looked deeper into the phenomenon of dreams and have found an astounding number of artists and creators who have pulled details from a dream and made it into something tangible in the waking world.

     All human beings are artists;  just being alive makes you an artist in your own right. I believe that the human mind will stop at nothing to find an outlet for creativity and that eventually, that need for creativity will stop taking no for an answer, and one way or another, whether conscious or unconscious, we will all be forced, by one means or another, to leave tangible strands of our inherent, creative DNA on the face of this planet. Creating is not our talent. It is not our right and it isn’t even our duty. Creating is our nature.

     Write on, and…