I'm excited to share that "Judging More than Just the Cover," will be hosting my "It's a Writer Thing" posts, including today's. Amber Gregg's blog is a rich and informative resource for writers, plus a lot of fun!
Those of you who read my last guest post on “Judging More than Just the Cover,” already know that I’m a fan of “Project Runway.” Lately, I’ve been watching the “Junior” version (which is amazing by the way; these kids are incredibly talented and mature), and I was struck by something that comes up all the time on this and similar shows like “Top Chef,” (another of my favorites), and that is how contestants respond to being cut. The reaction is the same regardless of whether we’re talking fashion design or culinary arts: “It’s so hard to leave after getting so close.”
Enter Pac Man.
Okay, what? I’ll explain.
As a new author knee-deep in the querying process, I find myself saying the very same thing when I get a tough rejection. Not that rejections are ever easy, but some are tougher than others. For example, getting a partial request on a query, then getting a full request, then waiting and waiting and waiting only to get a ‘no,’ is like one of these reality show moments.
What makes these experiences similar is that once the ‘no’ comes, you’re at ground zero again.
Getting so close you can almost taste it is exhilarating, but the crash can be extremely challenging to overcome. Persevering takes determination and a lot of social support. But, just like on “Project Runway,” “Top Chef,” and my other favorite, “So You Think You Can Dance,” there’s always another chance. For example, this year on “Project Runway,” (Season 14) the runner up was someone who literally tried out every single year since the show premiered. That means, he was told ‘no’ thirteen times. By the same people. Then he placed second. Similarly, on “SYCYCD,” a contestant auditioned in one city and was cut, but then showed up in another city, in the very same season. Not only was she given the golden ticket, she won it all. How many author stories have you heard about a book that was rejected countless times before becoming a huge hit?
Getting so close only to be told ‘no’ just plain sucks, and not having that save button only makes it harder, but if those world class Pac Man champs (and the Donkey Kong champs and the Centipede champs) can gain enough mastery to play the game from level one to win, then we can accomplish the same with our writing. And the best part is, we don’t need an endless supply of quarters to get there.
“You can do it, you can write!”