By Tenille Brown (Guest Blogger)I’m harder than a man on Viagra, or so I’ve been told.
The words first came from my husband when he noticed I was virtually emotionless during a heated argument. I might have shrugged or narrowed my eyes, but I’m fairly certain I didn’t raise my voice or do any other thing that might get my heart rate up. I’m getting older and I’d like to save my flutters for my children’s teenage years, thank you very much.
And I absolutely, for sure, did not cry.
The first time I was broken up with by a boy, over the phone, the week after senior prom, my eyes were dry. I hung up the phone without much of a response, went to bed and showed up to school the next day like nothing was wrong.
After all, in my eyes, nothing was.
We hadn’t dated long and he had been honest and straight forward enough to give me his reasons for wanting it to be over. I respected and accepted it and moved on.
Little did I know I would end up applying the same strategy to my writing.
My first rejection was fairly easy, I must say. It had made it in the original manuscript, but was cut at the publishers’ which should have been devastating, but the editor was so helpful and had so many suggestions on my story and my direction, I felt like I should have thanked her for rejecting me.
When subsequent rejections didn’t go exactly that way, it occurred to me and quickly, that there wouldn’t always be someone there to pad my fall. So, I did what I knew to do. Reverting to old, comfortable habits, I began pushing my arms out in order to brace myself when or if I tripped.
I tell myself three basic things:
Don’t Get Too Attached
I write shorts – short fiction, erotica, and essays. I like to get in and get out, not drawing any plot or idea out more than necessary. That way I haven’t lain with my characters or my plot long enough to form any emotional ties. That would be risky. That might make me soft.
If I allowed myself to soften and get sentimental over every piece, and one of my darlings was cast aside, I’d be down to nothing by now. The buzzards would be feasting on my poor, pathetic carcass.
That’s not to say that I’m made of steel. I’ve been disappointed at missed opportunities and tortured by questions of what I could have done to make a piece work. However, I can’t allow it to affect the way I work going forward. What if, going forward, I start to change this about my writing and that was really the problem to begin with?
Set It…And Forget It
When I’m writing, I just do it. If a certain call interests, me, I attempt to write something for it. Most times, it makes it to the submissions stage, sometimes it doesn’t get finished. I just know that emotionally, I can’t afford to worry about it either way.
I like to love the story for what it is and leave it alone, giving myself the space to be able to not fret while it’s in waiting stage.
Once it’s left my mind, my fingertips, and furthermore made it into the editor’s inbox, it’s out of my hands, literally and figuratively.
It Is What It Is
I don’t expect or ask for feedback after a rejection. I’ve learned to accept that just because it’s not someone’s cup of tea doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad tea.
I believe I’m a decent writer, but I don’t always knock it out of the park, nor do expect every ball to be a home run. Hell, sometimes I don’t even make it off the bench. I just know that I only have five to ten minutes to spend thinking about a rejection, otherwise I’m in danger of obsession – I know me. Besides, ten minutes is plenty long enough to log the rejected submission in my rejected file and remind myself to look for appropriate places to resubmit the piece later.
Yes, there might be some denial and delusion mixed in here somewhere with all my tough girl talk, and maybe I haven’t wagered enough, or fallen hard enough, but right now, this is what works for me.
It might not be a habit many could adapt to or get on board with, but just like those rejected pieces, I realize, everything ain’t for everybody.
Does it sound like I’ve been hurt before and I’m willing to do anything to keep it from happening again? Maybe you’re right, but I can bet you one thing, my stubborn ass will never tell.
Bio: Tenille Brown’s smut is featured online and in nearly fifty print anthologies including Chocolate Flava, 1 and 3, Curvy Girls, Going Down, Best Bondage Erotica, 2011 and 2012, Sapphic Planet, Suite Encounters, Open, and Best Lesbian Erotica 2013. The southern wife and mother writes for Mischief Books, blogs at http://therealtenille.com and tweets @TheRealTenille.
Here are some links to pictures for recent books I'm featured in: