Erin Lausten

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What did you learn today, Mrs. Lausten?

Posted by erinlausten on March 1, 2011

As you can see, my blog has been a bit quiet as of late. That can mean only one thing in my world. Life has completely exploded around me and the insanity has reached such a fervor I haven’t had the time to even think about writing. Ok, so not quite, I have thought about writing. I am always thinking about writing, but sometimes there are things that have to happen before something else happens and so that other thing sits and we all just have to deal. Yes. I am justifying my actions. But I have been busy! And I am really stoked to tell all about it!

First, in response to my last post about the inevitable and not totally unexpected rejection letter for my novella. Mini novella actually. The word count for this particular publication was limited to 15k words. Tiny. Ity bity. Really really hard to write. Short stories are not easy. It takes a lot to put a full story into that form and produce anything really worth reading. I admire the heck out of people that do it and do it well.  But, that’s not what this post is about.

No, today my post is what I learned from the experience. And boy did I!

When I started the story it was meant to be a learning experience. I wanted to put myself through the process of writing a story, finishing said story, having others comment on story, revise story, and submit story. I did that. It was good. I learned how the process worked, how I liked to work, and what kinds of challenges I would face. Ultimately I learned that I could do it. The value of that lesson is undeniable.

Then I received the rejection letter and learned that it wouldn’t kill me. Awesome. I didn’t want to give up. Didn’t want to cry myself to sleep. Wanted to keep writing and felt a tremendous resolve to do this, to be successful, to make my dream come true.

I learned that the reservations I had about the story were indeed true (the comments back said as much). So my instincts are good. That makes me optimistic. Should I have addressed those issues before I sent it? Possibly, but I didn’t know. And I think I got more out of this experience by not being accepted then if I had. You can learn more from losing than winning (but only if you are willing to look at why. It is much harder to understand why you win then why you lose). So no regrets.

But then the really strange things started to happen. I realized I was tremendously relieved to get the book back. It was mine again. I could do what I wanted with it. I felt this about short stories I’ve submitted. Now a novel. What does this say to me? That I have control issues? That I was really unhappy with what I have been submitting? That I have no idea what is going on in my head? Well, the last one is true at least.

But the biggest thing I learned? The one that hit me today like a ton of bricks? I’ve lost focus on what matters. I let all the insanity that surrounds this business get in my head. Because what really matters is that I write something that someone else wants to read. That’s what matters. Not whether an agent likes it, or an editor, or five billion people, but that someone likes it, enjoys it, wants more, and hopefully wants to pay me to do it.

So it’s not about me and what I want to write, or what an agent wants me to write, or any of that stuff. What ultimately matters is whether people want to read what I write. Period. And now it makes so much more sense. Decisions seem to be clearer. The options have opened up. And the nerves have taken a seat. Now I can actually write something.

And on that note… I am working on a project that I am super stoked about. It is a Steampunk Serial that will be launched this weekend. Every couple weeks new installments will arrive, free to readers across the web. And I am loving the characters, the story, and the community it is meant to reach. I am super excited and will have the link available on this site as soon as it is set to go. So keep an eye on this site!

Remember that bumpy ride I mentioned? Yeh, we’re on it.

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2 Responses to “What did you learn today, Mrs. Lausten?”

  1. carolyn4u said

    I’ve learned that I must keep the faith after I’ve submitted my work for publication. Sometimes, faith wanes and sometimes, faith perseveres, sometimes I’m just stuck in the middle somewhere.

    I agree, it shouldn’t matter if an agent or a publisher rejects my attempts for whatever reasons. It matters that I used the written word to express myself, to tell my story. Someday, somewhere, someone will read my thoughts and find them entertaining, enlightening and even encouraging.

    Writers will never give up their challenging adventure in creativity. You go girl!

  2. Edrienne said

    I am so glad that you have taken the time to really look at what this particular rejection was about. AND I am more excited about seeing the progress this book makes as it transforms from a limited mini novella to a full fledged novel.
    BTW i’m back in the blogosphere so come over and visit me!

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