Good: 3 Bad: 1

I have good news and bad news and good news. I’ve decided to present them in convenient bullet-point form, because 1) I am lazy and 2) It’s convenient. Just because I’m lazy doesn’t mean I can’t be considerate.

  • Good news: My days of having a bad knee may be coming to an end! I saw an incredible physical therapist on Friday who figured out that the reason my knee keeps shredding meniscus and hurting all the time is because there’s something wrong with my….FEET! Turns out my problem is simple biomechanics (my feet prolapse, which tweaks my lower leg, which tweaks my knee, which shreds my meniscus). It’s a simple fix: Custom orthotics and physical therapy. Bam. I may just have my life back. I can’t even begin to tell you what a heady, hopeful feeling that is.
  • Bad news: Bai Tide did not make the cut for the PNWA Literary Contest. Yes, I’m disappointed, however…
  • Good news: …I’ve made peace with rejection! My first rejection broke my heart, but in the years since I’ve been doing this whole writer gig I’ve learned that rejection is just a part of life. Like changing dirty diapers when you have a baby or performance reviews when you have a day job. I was definitely sad to not make the cut, but rather than discourage me, I was able to shrug it off by reasoning that my book just wasn’t to the judges’ taste. And that’s okay. Not every will like my stuff, and that’s okay.
  • Bonus good news: I heard back from the Seattle shipyard that they’re going to let me come take a tour! I set a large portion of one of my books in a shipyard and on a cargo ship, and it’ll be completely invaluable to be able to get real-life experience. It’ll make those scenes come to life and also make me look like I know what I’m talking about. Bonus!

It was a challenging week, but not without good news. Any week you can outnumber the bad points with the good is a good week, by my reckoning.

Rejection:The Price of Admission?

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Snoopy gets it.

I entered a contest earlier this year run by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA). Well, technically, I entered two contests. I entered Blood Money into the Nancy Pearl Book Award contest for new books published in 2013, and I entered Bai Tide into the Literary Contest.

I did so with my heart in my hands, knowing it’s a tough contest. I’m sure the Nancy Pearl one is tough, too, but it’s brand new so I have no idea what the competition looks like for that one yet. The literary contest, however, is certified tough.

I entered it in 2011, back when Blood Money was called Petra and featured a 20-page prologue. I’d thought it was pretty good at the time, mostly because I didn’t know as much about the craft of thriller writing as I do now, and was crushed when I didn’t win. After I picked myself up off the floor, I took a good look at the critiques the judges provided and used them to fix and rewrite my book. A few months later, Champagne Books picked it up and published it for me.

It took me three years to write something I thought might be contest-worthy again. I spent hours editing and revising the first 27 pages of Bai Tide, incorporating changes suggested to me by beta readers and analyzing my entry as critically as possible. When it was as polished as I was capable of making it, I printed it out and entered it into the contest.

Ever since then, I’ve been telling myself not to think about it because the finalists aren’t announced until early June. It mostly worked, but May inevitably came to an end and I’ve been waiting on tenter hooks ever since Sunday for word back.

According to the good folks on Twitter, quite a few people in a variety of genres have already heard back that they’re finalists. This leads me to believe that, even though I haven’t gotten my critiques back yet, I probably didn’t make it. I mean, it’s unlikely, right? They’re not going to alert all the other finalists first and then just wait a few days to alert the last stragglers.

I knew when I entered the contest that this was a long shot. This is one of the biggest literary contests in the country, it’d be arrogant to assume I’d make the cut my second time out of the gate.

Still, the rejection hurts. Well, the supposed rejection. It’s not over until it’s over, but let’s face it, it’s probably over.

It’s okay, though, and do you want to know why? It’s okay because rejection is a rite of passage when you want to be a professional author. If you want a successful writing career and all the cool stuff that comes with it, you’ve got to earn it, and that means getting rejected. And learning what you can as often as you can. Improving, stretching, and experimenting, that’s the ticket, and you can’t do that if you never have to work for it.

So this is me. Working for it. Despite the doubts and insecurities, I’m going to keep going and putting in the work because you know what? That’s what a professional does. Fake it ’til you make it, baby.