5 Ways to Cope With Rejection

I’ll give you a few minutes to uncurl out of the fetal position. I apologize for not labeling that title with a trigger warning.

The fear of rejection is probably what keeps most writers from writing. You would think that a writer would just write anyway and not send it out if they feared rejection, but that’s not the case. The thought of rejection is paralyzing. For years I kept my first book Soprano Trouble tucked away in a forgotten folder on my computer because of the fear of rejection. I know the feeling all too well.

Photo by Adrian Williams on Unsplash

I’m not sure that anyone ever gets to the point where a rejection doesn’t sting at all. They just get to the point where they can cope and move on. Take heart. It is possible. Here are seven ways to help you cope:

1. Fizzy Drinks

Never underestimate the power of a sweet, bubbly drink. Those fizzies are as pleasing to the ear as they are to the palate. Let the carbonation soothe your bruised soul as the bubbles carry away your sorrow. My latest fizzy drink of choice is Sparkling Ice Lemonade.

2. Fishing for Compliments

This is generally frowned upon in most areas of life, but a writer needs a good tribe of friends who won’t hesitate to boost them up with compliments on the heels of a rejection. When someone has said “Thanks, but no thanks,” a round of “we love you, you’re the best” is as calming as aloe vera is to a sunburn.

3. Meme Wars

This is generally carried out by your tribe online. Simply post your need, then laugh as your friends post the funniest memes they can find. This is actually a Biblical concept. You can find it right in Proverbs 17:22 – A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

4. Ice Cream

Turn those rejections into a celebration with an ice cream treat each time one comes in. If an agent or editor or publisher is going to reject your work without even discussing your full vision with you, then that was not going to be the right fit anyway. You can celebrate the fact that you know for sure that that person is not the right one to help you with your career.

5. A Reminder

It’s up to you how you want this reminder to look. You can put a post-it note on your mirror. You can put a reminder in your phone to alert you every day. You could hire an artist to paint it on a pallet and hang it on your wall. But make sure your reminder says this: God’s love for you is complete. He will not love you more if you are successful. He will not love you less if you fail. He wholly and completely loves YOU.

And really, it’s the reminder that helps me move on from the rejections I’ve faced. And it will help me move on from the ones that are sure to come. Because that’s a writer’s life.

You can do it.

 

How do you cope with rejection?

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Addressing Body Image in Harmony Blues

I don’t know what it is about junior high that makes kids so raw and impressionable. Hormones, probably. But whatever it is, things that are said to kids in junior high have the special ability to stay with them for a very long time. They often shape the person for the next five or ten years at best. Sometimes those things stay with that person forever. I tell you this to be aware of the power you have, whether you want it or not. It can be used for good. It can be used to harm. And it will be used for either one of those things, even if you’re not aware.

In Harmony Blues, Brittany is faced with how to handle things that are said about her. She’s actually like quite a lot of kids her age, still growing out of the baby fat that has been with her her whole life. She’s very aware of how she looks, which means she is very aware of the comments made about her, whether intentional or unintentional.

Here is an excerpt from Harmony Blues. I hope girls (and boys) will read this story and feel encouraged by the camaraderie they feel with Brittany. I hope they take comfort in the realization that they aren’t alone in how they feel about how they look.

——-

“Ooo, The Melting Pot?” Brittany squealed as they pulled into the parking lot. She had always wanted to try this fondue restaurant. Cammie had told her that their Dark & Dulce chocolate fondue was a-maz-ing. Brittany didn’t really like dark chocolate, but maybe she’d like it melted over strawberries.

Mom smiled at her and pulled into a parking spot close to the door. Brittany hopped out, her breath making puffs of clouds in the cold Colorado air. They stepped into the restaurant’s lobby and saw Dad sitting in a chair, checking his phone.

Brittany bounced over to him. “Dad! Guess what! They picked my painting to be displayed at the capitol building over Christmas! Can you believe it?”

Her dad finished what he was doing on his phone, put it to sleep, then looked up.

“What? Well, how about that?” Dad said, standing up. He pulled her mom into a side hug and kissed her forehead. Then he approached the host stand and told them their party was complete. The hostess smiled and lead them through the dark restaurant to a booth near a window, where Brittany slid into the seat across from her parents. The hostess explained the hot plates in the middle and how they would be used to warm up their fondue. Brittany took it all in with wide eyes. This was so exciting!

“How did your surgery go?” Mom asked Dad as soon as the hostess left.

“Just fine. The anesthesiologist had a hard time getting the meds right, so we had to wait for that. I definitely won’t be working with him again. Thankfully we were done in time so we didn’t miss our reservation here. I would have liked a bit more cushion to get cleaned up.”

“Well, you beat us here anyway,” Brittany said. “I wish you could have been at the art show, so I could have showed you my painting!”

“I snapped a picture of it,” Mom said, showing Dad her phone.

“Huh. Look at that. Why isn’t it in a frame?”

“It’s in a mat that we put on during art club,” Brittany said, disappointed that was all her Dad had to say . But maybe the picture on the phone didn’t do it justice. “Can we go to the capitol building over Christmas? You could see it in person there!”

“We’ll see,” Dad said. “Now it’s time to celebrate.” He grinned at Mom and Mom grinned right back at him. Brittany flushed with pleasure. Their server arrived with their waters and took their order. Brittany quickly looked over the menu. She was about to suggest Cammie’s favorite when she saw Chocolate S’mores—milk chocolate melted with marshmallow cream and topped with bits of graham crackers.

“Oh my gosh! Can we get the chocolate s’mores one? Please?”

“No, I can’t stand the thought of graham crackers,” Mom said, wrinkling her nose. “Let’s do the Yin & Yang.” She handed her menu to the server. Brittany checked the menu. Dark and white chocolate.

“And can you just bring fruit, please? None of the cakes or brownies or marshmallows or anything like that. Our daughter doesn’t need those fattening things, right?” Dad said. Brittany’s flush deepened. She had always been on the heavy side and she hated when her dad pointed it out.

“Michael, please. I really need some brownies,” Mom said.

“Oh, right. Sorry, just some brownies on a plate for my bride,” Dad said. The server nodded then slipped away. Brittany slumped down in the booth, tugging her shirt down over her slightly chubby middle. She swallowed hard and took a drink of water. She had learned a long time ago that she just had to shake these things off. She didn’t want to fight with her parents tonight, especially since they were at this incredible place celebrating her art.

——-

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Will You Go First?

I really don’t mind being first in the food line. When a group of people get together and a line needs to form to get the food service started, I have no problem being  That Person that picks up the first plate. I definitely don’t mind being the first one to read a book or see a show. I don’t really need anyone’s opinions about whether or not I should be reading or watching something. I’ll even go first in a group of people when we’re sharing thoughts or our work.

But I don’t always want to go first. I’ve read that I should be the one to go first when making friends. I’m supposed to take the initiative and approach a person and start a conversation. Well, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually done that. The thought paralyzes me.

The whole author/publishing world is another place where you have to be the one to go first. It’s hard. You have to send out your work first, before you know whether or not it will be accepted by someone. When means you also have to spend your time writing and polishing it first, before you know if your time was spent wisely.

Going first is an exercise in sheer will. Most of the time you will not be invited to go first; you just have to do it. Which means you have to conquer a few fears.

Fear of Rejection

When it comes to making friends, I’ve never been outright rejected. At least, not since junior high. But the thought that stops me in my tracks is born out of the fear that whomever I approach first did not want me to approach them because I’m lame or boring or dressed in clothes that are so yesterday. When it comes to writing, the fear of rejection kept my story in a drawer for years before I sent it out.

Fear of Being Fruitless

I don’t like wasting my time. I only want to pursue things that will have benefits in the end. I don’t know if a person and I will connect, so I don’t want to be the one to go first and waste my time or theirs. It’s a hard thing to spend hours on a story without the assurance of readership or compensation. But all writers must start out this way.

Fear of Scrutiny

I have an intense need to do the correct thing. I want to know that I did things the right way. I might hold back from going first because I want to see how others did something, just so I can do it the right way too. The problem is there is quite a bit of life that is not about correct or incorrect. People will tell you they didn’t like how you did something, but that doesn’t mean it was wrong. But you have to go first, even knowing that the Peanut Gallery is ready and waiting to tell you that you should have done something differently. Maybe they’re right. Maybe they aren’t. And honestly, this will happen whether or not you go first.

I have no magic formula to help you get over this fears. You just have to embrace it. Go first, and show others behind you that these fears are actually quite powerless when it comes to whether or not your successful.

Still aren’t sure? Well, I’ll go first and you can watch me and see.

What fears keep you from going first?

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Introducing: Buttons the Cat

Sometimes characters in books are completely made up. Sometimes they are inspired by people.

And sometimes they are inspired by real-life cats.

How I picture Brittany’s cat Buttons

In Harmony Blues, you get to meet two cats, Buttons and Colonel Mustard. It is my dream to own two cats someday, and for now it is a dream I fulfilled through Brittany. She’s an only child and her mother is a veterinarian, so it seemed fitting that she have two cats.

Buttons was actually a real cat that I knew. Not mine; he belonged to two of my favorite teachers in high school, Mr. and Mrs. Powers. Mr. Powers taught science and Mrs. Powers taught English (and infamously forbade me to stop reading Babysitters Club books) and I counted them as friends. We spent hours in the summer playing volleyball and we even had a Superbowl party or two at their place. That’s where I met their cats, Buttons and Shadow. I had my own cat, but I love all cats, and as an homage to them, I felt like Brittany needed to have a cat named Buttons too.

I think many authors inject little pieces of themselves into their stories. Buttons is a real life piece of me.

Oh, and here is how I picture Colonel Mustard, in case you were worried I forgot about him:

Do you have any cats? Share your pics…I want to see!

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What To Do While You’re Waiting

There is a dirty secret about being an author that no one ever talks about. I’m here to blast it to the world today.

Being an author involves a lot of waiting. A lot. You’ll get the incredible high of getting that contract, or seeing your cover art, or holding your book, or reading a review, but those things last for moments. Maybe a day, for the big milestones. Then you’re back to waiting. If it were up to you, things would move along at a steady pace. But so much of the publishing world is not up to you.

This has been one of the most surprising things to me about being an author. I have dreamed of writing my whole life, but I never dreamed there would be so much waiting. Some days I don’t use the waiting time well, to be honest. I sit and stare at my computer, waiting for something to happen. Then the day is over and I have nothing to show for it.

But if you want a career in writing, you have to get used to it. You have to find things to do while you wait. They say that success is a great motivator, but you can’t wait for the motivation of success. You have to keep working. In light of that, here are some things you can do while you wait for that next step in your writing career, whatever that may be.

Write

This seems like a given, but it’s the hardest thing to do. You want to know if what you’ve already written is going to gain some traction, but honestly you can’t wait for that. Because it may or it may not. If it does, you want to have something ready to go for the next thing. If it doesn’t, you want to have your next project going or ready, the one that might be the one to gain speed.

Read

Read in your genre. You might be surprised at the inspiration that comes from reading other works in the same genre that you want to write. Read books about marketing and platform building, because those are crazy important for writers. They are often the areas where authors are the most weak. Learn all you can so you know how to catapult your story beyond what the publisher will do for you.

Tinker

Tinker with your website. Look around at other websites and find what you like about them, then use that information to enhance yours. (Of course, this assumes you have a website. If you don’t, then change this step to Build a Website and move it to the top of the list.)

Embrace the waiting. It is almost as big a part of a writing career as the story itself. What would you do while you wait? Let me know!

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Top Three Reasons to Read Alto Secrets

You might be sitting there thinking to yourself, “There are now three books in The Choir Girls series. Should I read the middle one? It’s probably like the middle child anyway; not as cool as the first and not as cute as the third.” Well, hold on there, Friend. Let me give you three good reasons:

1. You loved Summer and her friends from Soprano Trouble

You have a few unanswered questions from the first story. Plus, you’re dying to know if Wes ever called Summer.

2. Maddie is super cool, and you’re going to want to meet her brothers

If you liked Maddie in the first book, then you’ll be happy to know that Alto Secrets is all about her. And you’ll get to know her brothers, who are super cool.

3. You’ll want to know what happens to Brittany

Harmony Blues is all about Brittany, and Alto Secrets will help you understand her story a bit better.

Share your reasons for reading Alto Secret in the comments!

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Book Review: Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn

I’m not very good at Twittering. It’s too fast for me. But I’m doing my best, because growth and all. And I’ve discovered a few very beneficial things on there that I wouldn’t have if I had just kept my head in Facebookland. One of those things is author Pintip Dunn.

I don’t remember the whole story, but basically I heard about a giveaway of a bunch of YA books on Twitter. Something about summer reads. I love YA, so I entered. And I won a book called Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn. Ms. Dunn herself contacted me to tell me I had won, so that was cool. Giveaways are fun, eh?

I had zero expectations for this book. I didn’t even look it up to see what it was about. And what a delicious surprise it turned out to be.

Forget Tomorrow is a dystopian story (yay!) set after the Technological Boom. All teenagers go to the Future Memory Agency on their 17th birthday and receive a memory that their future self sends back that tells them exactly what their life will be like in the future. Then the person can spend their time and resources pursing that goal, rather than wasting time figuring out what they are supposed to do with their life. Callie Stone is as excited as anyone to receive her memory, only things are not what she would imagined it would be. Her memory very clearly depicts her murdering her sister for some unknown reason. Based on just this memory, she is arrested and placed in prison for a crime she hasn’t yet committed. She is helped by her long-time crush Logan, a boy who quit speaking to her five years ago. Callie and Logan have to unravel the mystery of this crime that seems inconceivable to Callie, and figure out a way to prevent this future from happening.

I loved this book, but I had so many questions at the end. Thankfully at the end I found out that there is a sequel. I haven’t read that one yet, but I will as soon as is humanly possible. The premise is captivating, the characters are likeable and relatable, and the writing is effortless. I highly recommend this book, and I look forward to more from Pintip Dunn.

You can get this book on Amazon! (This is an affiliate link.)

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Should My Kid Read Soprano Trouble?

I’m not going to draw this out; the answer is yes.

Although, I suppose not first, if you don’t want. Maybe you want to snag Harmony Blues right now to ride the wave of newness. That’s cool. Each book in The Choir Girls series could stand alone. But I happen to think that the series is fuller and richer if you read the whole thing.

I get it. You might need a peek to decide if this story is really worth your time. So here you go.

From Soprano Trouble:

~~~

All four girls were in the 7th grade Concert Choir at Aspen Junior High. Their fall concert was in just two weeks, and one girl and one guy would get to sing a solo. It was a well-known fact that whoever got to sing the solo at the fall concert would also be featured in the Christmas concert.

“Oh my gosh, your audition was a-maz-ing Cammie,” Brittany gushed, her short, round frame bouncing in excitement. “I know Mr. Camp will pick you for the solo.”  Cammie smirked and tousled her short, spiky hair, her red highlights glittering in the sun.

“It was good, wasn’t it?” Cammie replied. “I think it’s smart to make us audition in front of the whole choir. It really lets Mr. Camp know who can handle that kind of pressure.”

“Well, clearly I can’t,” Maddie stated, staring straight ahead. “My voice doesn’t crack like that when I sing with the group. At least, it seemed like it was fine when we were learning the solo as a group.”

“Maddie, you did just fine,” Summer replied, patting Maddie on the arm.  Summer hated to see her friend embarrassed.

“Don’t worry about it,” Maddie said, smiling at Summer. “I’m not scarred. I am actually perfectly content to get lost in the masses. I like to sing, and in the group the focus isn’t directly on me. It’s really the best of both worlds.”

“Your only real competition is Pilar Sanchez,” Brittany said, wrinkling her nose as she stressed the pronunciation of PEE-lar. “But I know you did better than her.”

“Ugh, she is such a teacher’s pet,” Cammie grumbled. “Unfortunately, she’s an excellent soprano. Maybe I should hang out in Mr. Camp’s room all day too. Give her a run for her money.”

“I think she’s just shy,” Summer said, trying to keep the conversation positive.  “She probably feels more comfortable in there, since she doesn’t seem to have many friends.”

“Whatever,” Cammie blurted, kicking at a pile of dead leaves. “She should know by now that no one will be friends with a teacher’s pet. Hanging on Mr. Camp’s every word is not going to get her anywhere.”

“Yeah,” Brittany echoed. “She can’t be that serious about making friends.”

“I really like the songs Mr. Camp picked out for the concert,” Summer said, trying to change the subject.

“Me too. I wonder how many will showcase dear PEE-lar,” Cammie replied. Brittany burst out laughing.

~~~

Don’t forget to check out the trailers for all three books!

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway to celebrate the release of Harmony Blues! The giveaway ends on Monday, July 3rd!

(P.S. Soprano Trouble is available as an audio book too! With MY voice reading it. You can find it on Amazon, Audible and iTunes!)

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True Love

I wrote this post two years ago on a different blog of mine. It’s a lesson that I have to keep reminding myself of, over and over and over. I pray that it is my default someday.

Love, love, love. Love is all you need. Love will keep us together. Love everyone, man.

I hate the word love. No one knows what it means when someone else says it, because everyone has their own idea of what it should look like. It should look like the movies. It should look like giving everyone a gold star for every word out of their mouth and every choice they make. It should look like 100% agreement at all times.

I struggle with love. What does love look like? What on earth am I supposed to do to show that I love? How can I prove that I love them when I say I do, but they say I don’t? Or when YOU say I don’t because I haven’t followed the exact steps you so carefully articulated in your Facebook post?

I live with a Biblical worldview. Everything I do, everything I believe comes through the lens of what the Bible says. Sometimes the Bible is murkier than others, and clarity is harder to come by. But when it comes to love, I have to follow the Bible. Not conventional wisdom. Not popular, enlightened, modern ideas. Just the Bible, as revealed by the Holy Spirit.

Love is patient. Love is willing to bear the burden of hardship, pain, delay, annoyance with a calm demeanor, and without complaint or anger.

Love is kind. Love shows benevolence. Love actually does and says things for the good of others, and is helpful.

Love is NOT jealous…and does not harbor anger at someone else’s success or indulge in suspicion or fear

…or boastful…acting triumphant at its own success or relishing in a victory at the expense of others

…or proud…feeling pleasure over something that can be credited to it alone

…or rude. Love does not act impolite or harsh with someone, even when that someone says or does something that offends or is wrong.

It does not demand its own way. It does not demand to be heard or become upset if it is not being listened to. It does not demand that anyone acknowledge its opinion as valid or correct.

It is not irritable…or easily annoyed

…and it keeps no record of being wronged. It literally does not remember the last time it was offended, and definitely doesn’t bring it up when confronted about something else.

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Regardless of its opinion, it knows when an injustice occurs and it does not celebrate that fact. It celebrates truth and only truth.

Love never gives up…even when a devastating blow occurs

…never loses faith…even when its allies seem to be turning away

…is always hopeful…always choosing to look beyond the circumstance to the promise given

…and endures through every circumstance. Love bears without resistance every event, fact and detail.

Love never fails. It doesn’t end. No matter what.

That’s love. Not kissing someone else. Not berating your fellow man into a belief you hold. Not shaming someone else for a belief they hold.

In fact, love is not a response at all. True love is proactive and rather than respond, love simply acts. Regardless of what is happening around it, Love will always act that way.

Lord, help me act that way.

All words in bold are taken directly from the New Living Translation of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

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7 Concerns Parents Have About Kids Books

Thank you so much to everyone who took my survey on what your kids are reading! (If you didn’t get a chance to fill it out, please do! I’m always interested to hear more about the stories your family loves!) These results were so helpful for me as I begin to chart out my career as an author for kids, tweens, and teens. Are you interested in knowing what I learned?

What does this pic have to do with the survey? Literally nothing. But all the gurus say your blog posts need to have good images, and this is the one I chose for today. I think we can all relate to it, can’t we?

How Kids and Parents Find Books to Read

First, I wanted to know where you all were getting your books for kids. 60% of the respondents said that kids choose their books on their own, 40% simply find them while browsing at the library, and 20% get books recommended by their friends. (I realize that adds up to 120%. People were allowed to choose more than one option. I do not claim to be any good at reporting data.) This is interesting and a bit discouraging to me, because how am I going to get my stories into the hands of kids? I’m not sure if they’re picking the stories on their own. But it’s good to know.

This is also interesting to me, because I see a great need. It’s scary as a parent to think that my girls will probably simply be choosing their own books as they get older. I can’t always be with them and I’m not sure it’s practical to make them hand over every single book before they read it so I can screen it for them. So what’s the solution? Keep reading…I hope I have it for you.

Types of Stories Kids Like to Read

I gave a few options and the respondents were allowed to choose any or all of them. So here is how they ranked:

Adventure (think long quests and battling nature)
Contemporary (think stories that could happen right now in your neighborhood)
Fantasy (think dragons and fairies and magic)
Humor (think slapstick and Captain Underpants)
Stories about animals

It’s good to know what kind of stories kids want to read these days.

7 Concerns Parents Have About Kids Books

This is the question I was most interested in. Because my goal as an author is to write stories that kids want to read, but also to serve parents by writing stories that they can trust. It’s my solution to the problem that arose in the first question, where kids are mainly responsible for choosing their own books. Here are the concerns according to the respondents:

  1. The themes of the stories are too adult in nature, or even have sexual themes
  2. There is too much emphasis on boy/girl relationships at too young of an age
  3. Vulgar language
  4. Fixation on vampires and zombies
  5. Exposing kids to current social topics that they don’t need to know about yet
  6. The stories don’t line up with the values I’m trying to teach my kids
  7. The topics aren’t age appropriate

These are all such valid concerns. It is my belief that the stories our kids read touch them deep in their souls, so parents should be confident that the stories their kids are reading are affirming the values and worldview the parents are instilling into their children.

I would love to hear from you!

Tell me what are some age appropriate topics that you would feel comfortable with your kids reading about? Let me know in comments! And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter on the sidebar to hear about all my upcoming projects!

Love,
Victoria

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