Being Rejected Never Felt so Good

It happened. My book The Painters got it’s first rejection from a publisher. Duh duh DUH!

I don’t know, maybe I should be more upset about this? There was a while right after I got the letter where I did feel like shedding a few a tears (of course, I get teary-eyed about EVERYTHING now days–maybe that comes with age?), but then I just started feeling really proud of myself.

I mean, I wrote a book. I wrote a whole stinking book. And then I didn’t just get it into the hands of a publisher, I went right up to him and looked him straight in the eye and said, “Marry me!” (Just kidding. Arrested Development reference.)

Anyway, the point is that I had the guts to put myself out there and I’ve got no regrets about it. If I’m honest, I don’t think I was ready to let the book get published yet anyway. I didn’t realize it then, but I’ve realized it since and now I have the time I need to really make this book what I want it to be.

Funnily enough the rejection ended up just motivating me something crazy, and I’ve been working harder than ever on this little baby of mine. I’ve never BEEN so excited about it. And I can’t wait until it’s truthfully all grown up and ready to take its first steps into the world.

I have no doubt that when the book is ready, I’ll find the right publisher. I just have to keep trying. Which is something I happen to be pretty good at.

Must. Find. Motivation.

I LOVE writing, but some days it’s just so hard to get up the energy to enjoy doing it. I’ve started accruing some cool writing quotes to help motivate me. (Does anyone else use this method? Have any to share?)

Here’s a little sampling of of the ones I’ve collected. And okay, so they’re not all about writing, per se, but they help get me pumped to write.

“Most of us are called on to perform tasks far beyond what we can do. Our capabilities seldom match our aspirations, and we are often woefully unprepared. To this extent, we are all Assistant Pig-Keepers at heart.”
― Lloyd Alexander, The Book of Three

(I pity anyone who hasn’t had a little Lloyd Alexander in their life.)

“Get to work. Your work is to keep cranking the flywheel that turns the gears that spin the belt in the engine of belief that keeps you and your desk in midair.”
Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

One of my favorite writers of non-fiction.

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”

― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

(I’m trying to believe you, Anne.)

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”
― William Faulkner


“Sometimes heroism is nothing more than patience, curiosity, and a refusal to panic.”
― Leif Enger, Peace Like a River

Sometimes trying to be a writer takes a certain amount of heroism. (Truth: Peace Like a River is one of the most beautiful books ever written. If you haven’t read it, you should.)

Awesome. I’m pumped. Time to go write.

(A bowl of Lucky Charms couldn’t hurt either…)

Can I just brag about my mom for minute?

Me and my mom at the Life, the Universe and Everything Conference, where she ROCKED as a presenter.

Me and my mom at the Life, the Universe and Everything Conference, where she ROCKED as a presenter.

I know. It isn’t even Mothers’ Day. But I just finished reading one of my mom’s books–Maddie, Maddie Flying High–and I feel like bragging. The woman is a huge inspiration to me. In so many ways. Right now, though, I’m going to focus on how she inspires me as a writer.

I don’t think there was a time in my life when I didn’t know my mom wanted to be a writer. Okay, technically, I guess she always was one. She was a journalist for a while, she got short stories published in real-life magazines, she did a ton of scholarly and non-fiction writing. Her DREAM was to be a novelist.

She used to tell us kids that if we wanted something we should just work hard and do what it took to get it. Luckily for us, since we didn’t always believe the things she said, she’s made her life a living example of that principle.

She was always working on her novels. Maddie, Maddie Flying High was probably one of the first ones she ever finished. I remember reading pieces of it when I was a kid. Seemed like life was always getting in the way of her fulfilling this particular dream, though.

Whether it was illness in the family, having to work far beyond the hours of a normal full-time job, all of her several offspring having emotional (or other) breakdowns at the same time, or all of these and more combined. She really had to fight to make enough time and energy for herself to write.

A few years ago, when she was finally able to get her first novel published–Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone from her Entomological Tales series–I think it gave a sense of validation to the whole family, not just her. There was this awesome satisfaction in being able to say, “Mom did it.”

(Plus, the book is SO cool. I was afraid I wouldn’t like it because, you know, it’s my mom, but I loved it.)

And what I think is just as cool as her getting published–and continuing to publish, and getting awards–is the fact that she’s allowed us to see her process, all the hard work it’s taken to get to this point. She would talk to us about her dream, she let us read her work even when it wasn’t perfected yet, she actually listened to our sometimes tactless advice, she’d talk to us about her frustrations with the process.

What this really did for us was to teach us that we can do it too. Whatever our dreams are, we can achieve them with hard work. I use her example every day to keep myself moving forward with my own dreams, and I have every confidence that it’s going to pay off. Because I have a good example that shows me it can.

So yeah. My mom is awesome. Check her out–Dene Low:


And stay tuned for one of these days when I brag a bunch about my dad too. (Man, my family is so cool.)