From Writer to Writer: Lindsey Roth Culli
Hello! I’m Lindsey and I write books for teens and people who used to be teens.
I earned my MFA in Creative Writing in 2010. Since then, I’ve been writing novels and teaching college students how to write… papers.
I’m represented by Amy Tipton of Signature Literary Agency.
Lindsey’s Take on Handling Rejection
If you’ve just been rejected by an agent, an editor or a lit magazine, then CONGRATULATIONS! That’s great news! Wait. What? Why?
I know it sounds weird but I think it’s great news because it means you are officially in the game.
If you’re getting rejections that means you’re actually submitting your work and that, friend, is half the battle.
Making your writing a priority so that you actually have something to submit and have rejected is further than many, many, many would-be novelists ever get.
Plus, rejection at every stage is just practice for the rejection yet to come. First, maybe you get rejected from lit magazines, then maybe agents. Even after all your toil and trouble finding your perfect agent match, you’re still going to get rejections from publishers.
But here’s the great thing: You’re in good company. You’d be hard pressed to find any writer who has not been on the receiving end of rejection. Stephen King, JK Rowling (need I remind you that the film adaptation of Deathly Hallows part 2 just made $1B at the box office?), Anne Frank (seriously), William Faulkner, George Orwell…. the list goes on. Point is, rejection happens to, quite literally, the best of us.
Sometimes rejection is totally subjective but sometimes, rejection may be warranted. Sometimes your manuscript is just not quite there yet—good but not great, likable but not loveable. And that’s okay! Hopefully, you’ll be able to read between the lines of the feedback you’re getting from your rejections to see what needs to be fixed/tweaked/redone.
The best way I know to move forward is to keep writing. Keep revising. If your current manuscript is getting you nothing but “no,” start a new one! Frankly, if you plan to be a career author, it’s good practice. The bonus is that some time and distance between you and your other manuscript will give you fresh perspective and some objectivity to help when you return.
Many people repeat that old adage that writing is a solitary art. To that I say poppy-cock! You need people on your team. Friends who’ll cheer you on when you need cheering, beta readers who’ll give you honest first impressions, crit partners who will tear your manuscript apart so you can rebuild it to be stronger or who can help you brainstorm and work through plot holes. You’ve simply got to find some people to be your teammates and once you’ve got them, don’t let them go! (And if you need advice on where to look—I can help there, too.)
So my final snippet of advice is simple—rub some dirt on it and get back in the game, because you most definitely are in the game.