The Courage to Keep Going

Awhile back (this post actually) I mentioned that I might have news. I do, but not the kind of news I wanted to post here. But the reason why I am, is because I recently read some posts by people who had to courage to write about their pain. So, here I go.

In the post I linked to above, I mentioned that an interested party (code word for agent) expressed interest in my middle grade novel. I felt like Cinderella, finally getting a chance to go to the ball. But after I revised the manuscript at the request of that person (I now know what it means to bleed over a manuscript) and turned it in, I later learned that the interested party was now disinterested.

Cinderella anticipating the ball

You know how it feels when you’ve heard dozens and dozens of no’s, only to finally have someone say yes, but then to have that person turn around and say, “On second thought, no”? One of my sisters-in-law told me, “It’s like the rug was snatched out from under you.” A feeling she has also experienced recently.

Imagine this bear pillow is a rug. Now, imagine it being taken away.

I found myself spiraling into depression—an unfortunately familiar place, where getting out of bed seemed pointless. If you don’t suffer from depression, you might not understand that. And I get it. There are worse things in life than being rejected. But when you’re depressed, everything looks gray.

Some really good friends refused to allow me to stay in that dark place. So, with their prayers and encouragement, I got up. Took in a really entertaining movie (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) with a friend who also has had a hard time. Started a new book. Began revising some of the old ones.

Perhaps a disappointment like this might not rock you. You might even have a “Why don’t you do this?” piece of advice ready and waiting. Believe me, I get a lot of advice. To which I answer with this image:

We all have a path we follow. Some of us go in one direction. Some of us go in another. My path might not look the same as yours. The path I’m on is not an easy one (nor am I suggesting that others are). But it is the one I’m on. Believe me, I’m not a masochist who delights in my own pain. I’ve wanted to give up so many times.

I can’t help thinking of someone who came to speak to my SCBWI group. After 300 rejections for one book (you read that right), an agent accepted her manuscript. It was later published as the first of a three-book series.

Would you have the courage to keep going after that many rejections? That author’s persistence humbles me, especially when I consider that I only have a fraction of that amount. (And I’d thought having well over 60 rejections for one book was bad.) I think the title of a book I’m about to give away says it all: Keep Calm and Sparkle On! That’s what that author did. That’s what I plan to do.

If that’s not a segue, then I don’t know what one is. Let’s move on to the winners of the books that were the subjects of the interview posts here and here. They are Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age by Charles Yallowitz

Cover by Jason Pedersen

and The Wish List #2: Keep Calm and Sparkle On! by Sarah Aronson.

The winner of Warlord of the Forgotten Age is




Lyn Miller-Lachmann!

The winner of Keep Calm and Sparkle On! is




Penny from Life on the Cutoff!

Winners, please confirm below. Thank you to all who have put up with my ramblings over the years.

Jumanji movie poster from Path sign from Book covers and author photos courtesy of the authors. Other photos by L. Marie.

39 thoughts on “The Courage to Keep Going

  1. I’m
    So sorry to hear the incredibly disappointing news and to know that you were having such a dark time. Thank you for your courage and grace in sharing what you’ve been through and gently explaining what depression is like for those who don’t know. Sending you a big hug and lots of support. ❤️

      • I’m glad this post gave you the courage to speak up. And you’re not alone in the R&R situation with agents or editors. I think it’s worth it to do the revision even if the odds are long because a professional is giving you developmental advice at no cost to you. However, a lot of time, their vision for the work isn’t the same as yours, and you have to take that into account, too.

      • I agree with you, Lyn. In some ways the book is better. The change I reluctantly made I could easily delete without ruining the continuity of the book.

  2. A true writer, like yourself, will never give up. Years ago, I read that writing isn’t like a performance art; until you have success, no one really cares. This definitely struck a chord with me. Congratulations to the winners!

  3. Sorry to hear about the agent. I think nearly every author has gone through the rejection process. It really is a process too because it’s unavoidable. Good to hear you’re getting back on your feet and marching forward.

  4. I won! I look forward to reading Charles’s book and getting to know his series! It’s always good for me to read outside my normal genres. And I’m glad you read and appreciated Laurie’s post. When I heard about her writing four complete manuscripts before selling her first, I was completely in awe of her. While my fourth was the one I eventually sold to a publisher (and then rewrote and sold my third right after), I didn’t have the patience to wait and self-published my second. I’m glad I did despite the amount of work, because it did relatively well critically and commercially and opened some other doors for me to write reference books.

  5. To me, when you’re feeling so low and you get up anyway, that’s strength. Laughter is the best medicine. We saw Jumanji as well, and it really was a movie filled with laughs. I’m so glad you went to see it.

    I’ve had trouble writing for several months myself. That’s okay. I’ve accepted what is and know this too shall pass.

    Stay warm and safe from this snow. It seems to be nonstop today. Sheesh.

    • Thanks, Lori. I hope this too shall pass for both of us.

      Speaking of passing, I hope the snow does also. Yes, it is nonstop. I went out earlier to brush the snow off the car. Ha ha! That was futile. I’ll have go back out at ten and try again!

  6. So sorry, L. Marie. No advice from me – I find rejection in any field tough to take, so I do understand, and I also understand how annoying well-meaning attempts to advise or cheer you up can be. As a reader, all I can say is that I’ve read plenty of junk that found a publisher, and plenty of good stuff that people had to self-publish, so I don’t think of publishers and agents as gods who get it right all the time. Oh – one piece of advice! Chocolate! 😉

  7. Oh, dear L. Marie, first and foremost please know how sorry I am to read of such a disappointment. Heartbroken comes to mind right now and some days, well, somedays I understand wanting to just stay under the covers.
    What a nice, and appreciated, surprise to see my name pop up! Yea! I look forward to Sarah’s book, which I know I will enjoy and am pretty sure I know someone who like visiting here and reading it with me. 🙂 A big thank you to both you sand Sarah.
    Hang in there, L. Marie.

  8. Dear, dear Linda. What you’ve described is not only the disappointment placed in your life path right now, but the extra difficulty in navigating the confusing messages given by one in ‘authority’ over your (he)art. The infamous ‘let down’ in exposing our (he)art to the outside world occurs even under more positive outcomes, though not as hard of course.
    That fact. That very fact that you are an (he)artist means this is part of our life path. The gift for us is that often in continuing the doing of that very (he)art lies part of the healing.
    That is after all how our Creator wired us.
    Keep on keepin’ on and know you, too, are not alone!

  9. Thanks for your honesty. Man writing is hard and publishing … I think that’s even harder. I’ve definitely felt the “why am I doing this to myself” blues after facing rejection – especially hard because it’s like you just need one agent to like your book to move to the next step, then one editor, etc. etc. But I try and say to myself, “Well, are you going to quit writing?” and so far every time I’ve asked myself that question, I’ve decided no. But that doesn’t make it any easier. But posts like these are so brave and needed and I’m sure will help so many writers.

  10. Wow-acceptance after 300 rejections. I don’t think I’d have had the resolve to continue with it long before that number. And you-for one who is gracious enough to allow other writers to showcase their work on your blog, I hope you get that break soon.
    Jumanji-I considered taking in that movie. See it features the Doctor’s own Amy Pond!

    • Yes, 300! She showed a photo of a huge amount of envelopes–all rejection letters. Interestingly enough, her agent is very sought after nowadays.

      Yes, Karen Gillan was great in Jumanji! I agree with one reviewer who stated that with the success of Jumanji (2017), there needs to be a Nebula-Gamora movie in the works. That would be a good Guardians of the Galaxy spinoff.

  11. Hey.

    As a fellow traveler through the world of dark clouds and valleys and no foreseeable end to struggle, I can only say DO NOT GIVE UP. Your characters led you to make them breathe on the page. They didn’t do that for naught. Your story deserves to be read, however difficult it is to continue to believe. It’s true, whether it feels true in the moment or not.

    I’m not going to say the usual “this is hard” and “every writer goes through it” and “rejection is part of life” and on and on, because every single one of these instances feels like a death. It’s maddening to get one’s hopes up and even undertake requested changes, only to be told they’re taking a pass. I don’t understand why agents do this, other than to torture writers. Commit before I make changes…….that’s the only way I’ve ever dealt with them (which is one of many reasons I don’t have an agent.)

    Keep going. xo

  12. We writers are an amazing group of people, when you think of it. We work in our garrets, on our lonely desks, or our kitchen tables sometimes for years, never knowing whether anyone will want to look at what we’re writing, let alone pay for it–and certainly not enough to make us rich or even enough to live on. We face rejection, not once but dozen of times, hundreds. We cry, alone or in public. We lose faith in ourselves and in what we’re doing. And yet, we pick ourselves up and get back at it again. Yes indeed! We really are an amazing group of people!

  13. I’m so sorry for the bad news, L. Marie, but how awesome to have such good friends to help you through it. Hopefully 2018 is YOUR year! 😍

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