It came. The very first rejection for my book proposal. I promise you, I was prepared! God and I had chatted a ton about this and I knew it wasn’t going to be a smooth sailing ride of “yes’s” and “yay’s!” I was also prepared to not take it personally. While Gideon clearly is/was the most adorablest amazingest baby ever, I know rejections are not a rejection of him.
I’m good then. Right? I’m good?
Well. I’m getting there. Let me share with you what the rejection said, straight from the horse’s mouth:
“I finally had a chance to review your proposal. I’m sorry it took so long. The story is very tender and you’ve told it well. I have a hard time finding a home for even well-told personal stories these days. I don’t know what to suggest other than checking with other agents and editors, perhaps through attending a good Christian writer’s conference. The other option is to self-publish. I do wish you well with this. It will minister to many readers one day.”
So this is what I am hung up on: “I have a hard time finding a home for even well-told personal stories.”
Personal story?? Personal story?!?! Forty five pages of a book proposal and three chapters and it all can be chiselled down into two words?? Well what on earth, personal story was not at all what I intended it to be!
In my brain (which doesn’t always translate to the ink on the page, more on that in a minute) my intentions were always that the story would be told for the reader to help tackle their own fears and grief. I don’t want to tell the story for the sake of the story being told. I want to tell the story because the story is a vessel to grow people closer to God, closer to healing, and closer to peace filled living. Its about the reader, not about the story.
So there I sit. Reading those rejection words over and over again and the dialogue in my brain gradually declines.
Self: “All well. You know this wasn’t going to be easy and you knew pretty clearly that this one was going to be a no. No big deal.”
5 minutes later, re-read it.
Self: “Well I mean he did say it was well-written so I guess that’s nice right? Yeah sure, that’s nice.”
10 minutes later, another re-read.
Self: “Crap. Just crap! I didn’t want it to be a personal story! Now I guess I need to start from the drawing board. All 45 pages just junked. Why do I suck??”
15 minutes later, once more pull it up on phone. Now I’m just plain mad at myself for caring so much!
Self: “But I don’t want to re-write it! I prayed over and over again and re-wrote over and over again and I believe in what God has called me too. When I wrote those chapters my soul came alive. Am I missing it God? Am I missing it?”
Now, after 24 hours, a small book proposal re-edit, lots of mental processing, and a couple chats with God this is where I have landed.
Truth is God’s ways are not our ways. I know it. Quite practically speaking in the world of books and publishing maybe my book might just seem like another personal story set on the top of a set of a million other ones. If that is how the “powers at be” see it than I am fine with that. What I need to trust in is what God is moving in me. It might not make sense and the world might call me crazy but I will move forward confidently in what God has called me to. I will take the rejection as a help. Turns out my cover letter did read like the book was only going to be a personal story, quite honestly I think he might have just read the cover letter and a few pages of my chapters. So I decided to tweak the cover letter, re-write a few sentences, say a prayer and move on.
Honestly, I am not very confident in me. Not at all in my writing and surely not in I anything I say. However, I am confident beyond all ends at the Holy Spirit that lives within me and I am expectant that God will finish the good work that He has started. I am also confident in the fact that not everyone (surely not that agent) is going to agree with the call that God has put upon my life. Not everyone is going to think it is worth their time. But you know what? It’s okay. I only have one person and one person only to follow and impress with my life and that is my Heavenly Father. Just one. That’s all.
It’s not just book proposals and writing that give way to rejection. Too many times in life God’s word and plan can stand juxtaposed to the people around us. It is tempting to think, “If this is what God wants me to do, why isn’t it easier?” Well then, if it were easier maybe we wouldn’t need God as much.
We got it God. We got it.
Does this hit home for you at all? Is there a place in your life where you feel like you have been rejected? I pray for you, that you might continue to seek God and God alone. That no man, woman, or child can deter you from what you know the Lord is calling you to!
SAVE THE DATE!!
If you are in town and know a young woman in need of some encouragement come on May 14th from 2 to 4 to Madalyn’s Coffee & Tea (17111 Kenton Drive Suite 102B Cornelius, NC 28031)!! I am going to give a talk on body image and insecurity and would love to see you there. My prayer is that young girls and moms alike will leave encouraged and refreshed to see themselves anew.
Any questions? Feel free to email me! Mariafurlough@gmail.com
As always, be blessed!