You first must fall

Today is a significant day for me, in that I received my first rejection letter today from a literary agent.

I’m reluctant to put this post on my blog for several reasons. First and foremost, because at the rate that I’ve been blogging I don’t have regular viewers, and so it’s clear that as of now nobody’s going to even read it. Secondly, the current primary purpose of my blogging is for cathartic release so I can find some improved direction through the chaos of my ramblings, that I might get some peace of mind knowing that I’m in a state of action instead of dejection and complacency. And I don’t necessarily need to put that up online to get that experience. Thirdly, this type of article will likely not be interesting to most people that are not writers, and I am still searching for what type of identity my blog should eventually take.

And as another strange way of me sublimating this depressing yet partly expected surge of negativity, I’ve decided to make a decision between two choices. Of course, our choices are close to infinite in reality. You never have only two choices in any given circumstance, but we reduce our choices to a few distinct selections to better grant structure to our lives, and create clearer direction. And I’m reminded of a scene from Fight Club where Tyler Durden mentions to Edward Norton’s character, that they can either kick fight club up a notch or shut it down for good. They were at a plateau in their journey. I’m at a plateau in my journey. I can either kick my writing up a notch, or shut it down. And if I might reduce the options even further, shutting it down is not an option for me. I need to write. I need it for my own sanity. It’s not so much a desire as it is a necessity now.

That’s one rejection letter from a literary agent. I’m sure there will be more to come. I’ll need to re-think my plan to a writing career. And I may need to parse down the word count of the manuscript (250,000+ words might be too much). And I’ll need to build up a better writing platform. And I’ll need to keep working on my new novel, making sure to keep it closer to 100,000 words. And if there are other writers out there who read this who are having a similar experience, I wish you the best of luck on your way to literary success.

All in all, before you rise, you first must fall.

I can feel myself falling. I’m willing to write and fall better. Let’s fall some more.

420 thoughts on “You first must fall

  1. Your novel . . . if I were going to write a novel, I would give it structure for success. There is a lot of information out there for the number of chapters, the length of chapters, and where it should climax and level out to the fantastic end. Once I decided who’s information on that is the best, based on what historically sells in your type of novel – I would make an outline for the chapters. The last step would be to write the chapters from your passion / writing heart. Int that first write you do no editing, just WRITE. Once you do the entire book, then you do the editing for cutting all unnecessary words and phrases, cutting unnecessary scenes that do not move the novel forward, add what is needed for clarity, and for transitions from paragraph to paragraph, and chapter to chapter. That sounds clinical, but it works. When you feel you are rambling too much, or writers block on a chapter, you could do what I call chapter therapy with an outline of it’s own – such as you would do for a commentary – write the main action for the chapter, and ten progressive ideas to accomplish that chapter..
    I wrote a book once, but shredded it ten years later due to realizing I wrote it for self therapy, during a transitional time in my life. I changed my life immensely for the better. I may do it again, but from the slant of giving advice from experience that just may be what someone else needs to read to change their life.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I apologize for the late reply thank you for this deeply insightful comment and for your giving me personal insights informed by your experience as a writer. I agree, it needs structure I wrote my first draft just free flowing and getting everything down, but it ended up being huge and it needs to be wittled down substantially. Now that I’ve separated myself from my manuscript for some time, I feel I have a better feel for which pieces are vital to the story and which pieces needed to be ripped out of it, as well as which portions need to be accelerated so the plot quickens. I do believe most writing is self-therapy, so if you indeed shredded a piece of work you had created that makes me very sad hopefully you kept some of it at the very least!! I thank you for the advice though, it’s very helpful to get perspectives like these they inform my decisions moving forward in regards to my writing, very much so appreciated all the best to you Juanita!! 🙂

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  2. When I finally gave myself permission to simply write, following only the format of my heart and quest, is when the writing became my own teacher and growth was a private celebration. For me, life and the writing included can serve only one purpose – Self Realization. The readers who resonate with your shared path will find you and seek wisdom shared with no care of !00,000 words or 5. The truth is what we are seeking. Writing is a tool that nudges us to the depths of stones we will forever turn over until we simply “Get It”.
    Fall we shall and rise again is a collective journey. Onward Deer One!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is indeed a collective journey and I’m happy that others feel a sense of their own journey in my writings!! That’s phenomenal that you’ve found self realization through your creative endeavors, it’s the purest bliss. I agree that it’s the truth we seek in our writing, and that we’re trying to pry the depths of our own minds when we create. All the best to you deer one thank you so much for the kind comment!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the well wishes, I try to speak from the heart I didn’t really expect this post to get any views when I put it up haha but I’m extremely grateful that people who have stopped by my blog connected with it, thank you so much for the comment!!

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  3. Oscar: First, thanks for “liking” my recent blog post. Second, I wish you all the best in your pursuits. I think you have a healthy attitude about your writing, even if you are having doubts about making a living at it. I fully understand your need to write. I have the same need, and I started my blog earlier this year for a similar reason – as a way to push myself to get my words out into the world. Keep looking forward and believing in yourself! I’m pulling for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re more than welcome I like the sea as well but have always respected the dangers that come with large masses of water. And thank you so much I appreciate the well wishes!! I try to stay as level headed as I can, I understand it’s not something that happens quickly. It’s tough to shake that impulse to write once it comes, I’ll be sure to keep looking forward and believing thank you so much for your kind-hearted support!!

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  4. Definitely do not let this one rejection letter change your goals or your writing. My last relationship was with a writer. He sent out so many queries and got back so many rejection letters. I saw, and could feel, how hard they were on him. Then I saw him put those feelings into improving his book, then to writing more great books, and then into writing magazine articles which did get published and kicked off his career. Your current book is very long. It sounds like you are aware of recommended lengths, so I won’t get into that.

    Any time you choose a career in the arts, you are choosing to weather a lot of rejection. Mixed in with that will be some acceptances. And those will feel like the skies opened up and shined light on you. Hallelujah! Improve your odds by sending more queries out.

    Hang in there!

    Ivory

    Liked by 1 person

    • I apologize for the late reply thank you for taking the time to create this deep and thoughtful comment, I agree a career in the arts will inevitably lead to loads of pain and anxiety and failure, and it’s our job to sublimate all that which is negative and feed it to our flame. I pray my Hallelujah moment will come haha I’ll hang in there! Thank you so much once again!!

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  5. Hi Oscar…As I look at my lovely wallpapered writing nook (papered in rejection letters) I note that writing teaches one to expand their mind, improve their vocabulary and grammar, and to find those hidden treasures locked in their hearts and minds and unabashedly share them with the world. Then I note that dealing with agents and literary houses adds other traits to the writer. Traits like developing a thick skin, finding new and exciting ways to curse people and, in my case, the perfection of creating voodoo dolls. Send me their name and I’ll stick an extra pin in for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed it does force us to expand our minds and discover thoughts within ourselves we didn’t know existed, and it does thicken your skin haha I feel little to no animosity to them for the most part I understand it’s a business and they’re thinking about things in terms of risk and reward, it’s just our job to make them see the real risk was not taking a chance on us gotta keep pushing in this sort of field thank you so much for the kind comment 🙂

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  6. Oscar, thanks for your transparency and speaking aloud what so many in our writing community contemplates privately. The pathway to our writing destiny may be crowded with obstacles, temptations and detours that threaten to push us off course but no way will we go under. A temporary change of altitude shifts our position to better appreciate both lesser and greater opportunities to deploy our writing voice. Thanks for visiting my blog. Write-on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re more than welcome I’m just grateful that others have felt something as a result of this post!! There will be many obstacles indeed, but we can’t break focus and we can’t stop pushing forward like you mentioned in your own post, we’ve got to go get our dreams. Fresh starts are beautiful things, I’m still in the midst of my own. I wish you all the best in your journey write on indeed!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think you’ve just translated my grey matter into words… my once new (but hardly used) blog had been set aside; my cookbook had languished and really I think I just didn’t want to face that it was unlikely anyone would want to read what I had to write about. But I do have to. Write about it, that is. Who cares if I fall. At least it means I’m moving.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hear you we have to stay in a state of action, I’ve found myself writing a lot of things alone as of late with a reluctance to put it up on my blog for whatever complicated reasons, but I hear you that we need to write. I’m thankful you felt a connection to this piece of mine thank you so much for the kind comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have indeed but I’ve been holding off on going all the way to that route until I’ve fully exhausted all other avenues as I know the type of challenge that route poses, not that all routes don’t pose their own unique challenges but without the support of an agent or a publishing company and professional editing, I just know that I need to have it all the way thought through before going all in in that direction, thank you so much for the comment!!

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  8. Thanks for sharing your journey! If you love writing, you mustn’t give up. I’ve been where you are. I’ve been a published author for over 10 years, and I still have my low moments. As with most things in life, there will be highs and lows. Best wishes to you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so awesome that you were able to get published!! And I thank you for your empathizing, I agree we mustn’t give up highs and lows come with the territory, best wishes to you as well!! 🙂

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  9. Oscar, first and foremost, keep writing. You may step back now and then, but if you are compelled to write, keep writing. I have heard that one may get a box full of rejections, before one piece gets published. Like yourself, I have one follower and it is rare that others bother to read what I am writing, though I have run the gambit of sending out teasers in e-mail and facebook – I sometimes think my friends and relatives are waiting until I am dead before they read my work. My one faithful follower does not read everything, but she keeps encouraging me. When I lament that no one is reading my blog, she says, but you must keep writing.

    Are you journaling? Taking notes all the time? For me writing the blog is the evolution of family and friends news and views letters I wrote, printed and mailed out to 20-30 people every 6-8 weeks for twenty years. Some of the people I sent to them said they really missed the letters, but do they read the blog? Of course not. One friend suggested that my letters were my writing practice. Perhaps that is a good way of looking at blogging. It is good practice for writing and developing your work – for telling your story. If we are lucky, perhaps the person/people who are meant to read our words, will find them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, first and foremost we have to keep writing, I know that it’s no easy road and I’m in it for the long haul. I do take consistent notes and consistently write short stories and try to refine my craft by reading works I have deep respect for all the while constantly trying to revise my work. I’m with you in the hope that in time more and more people will continue to discover our works best wishes to you 🙂

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  10. you wrote another interesting blog about movement and action- there may be a correlation there that speaks deeply to how you’re made:)

    just for me i find that assessing writing as something cathartic even speaks to that… and there’s always a purpose for how we are made beyond the catharsis it brings us in return for our offerings!
    cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the support!! I’m thankful you liked that line, I agree we need to fail to grow as individuals. And no problem at all that’s awesome that you get to live in Toronto I’ve always wanted to visit it seems so culturally diverse plus it is the land of Drake and the Weeknd haha thanks for the good luck wishes as well happy blogging!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is great! I am 100% there with you, my friend!

    Your story reminds me a lot of one of my more recent posts “A continuous falling and picking yourself back up.” Feel free to read here: http://brittanymarleyhealth.com/2015/08/11/484/

    If there is any way that I can add value to your life, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Have a beautiful day Oscar! 🙂

    ❤ Brittany Marley

    Inspirational Blogger @ huckleb3rry.wordpress.com.
    Health Coach @ brittanymarleyhealth.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much!! I found your perspective that you only answer to yourself to be an empowering thought, something I need to remember more than I have these days. Thank you so much for the offer as well I appreciate it all the best to you as well!!

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  12. I’m glad you wrote about it – I feel very clearly your journey. I’ve spent the past year in a similar mental battle with myself – being told by so many who meet me that I “HAVE TO WRITE A BOOK! YOU CAN:T MAKE THAT STUFF UP!” etc etc (mine is clearly memoir oriented) and knowing it’s a particularly compelling story that is commercially viable (I come from an entertainment industry background myself) however unlike yourself, I haven’t amassed the courage to even go for it in any sense at all, constantly doubting myself, convincing myself I am not even a strong enough writer to tell my OWN story! So in my opinion, kudos to you for taking that leap at all, don’t give up, don’t stop, don’t do what I do and convince yourself of a million reasons to keep your creativity and stories to yourself. And thanks for liking my very first attempt of any kind to express myself publicly – it has taken a long time for me to even have the guts to post something so simple, and I was pleased to check out your own posting and find it articulating much more eloquently than I can the inner turmoil of the life of aspiring writers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m very happy you feel what I wrote in this piece, and that’s awesome that you have that type of encouragement from amongst your peers and people you know to write your book you must have lived a really interesting life so far!! And I wouldn’t consider myself particularly courageous I think that at some point you’ll break through your own mental barriers and push forward, but thank you so much for the kudos. I very much agree with your perspective that it’s a healing experience to share our struggles with others, I know that to be very true for myself in particular. Best of luck to you in your journey and thank you for the kind comment!! 🙂

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  13. Congratulations. Rejection letters mean you’re writing and submitting! I had so many on file before I got an agent. Got published but my 2nd novel I self-published! It is a satisfying way to go, really. The downside is that I don’t like to market. Oh well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much and that’s tremendous you got published congrats to you as well!! I believe that it could be a very satisfying route it’s one I’m certainly considering now, all the best to you thank you for the kind comment 🙂

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  14. I have been working on a book for a few years now, and even though it’s still not completed, my intent is to have it done by the end of the year. It isn’t that I wanted to wait this long, but it’s a memoir that is heartbreaking and resilient. It’s hard to go back to something repeatedly that will always contain some grief. So I’m not at the point you are with getting a rejection letter, but I think it’s awesome you have made yourself vulnerable to that possibility. That’s hard to do. We all hear stories about authors getting rejection letters repeatedly, which doesn’t make it hurt any less. In my mind, it’s nice to know you’re not alone. And the fact that you have 400 + comments on this one post makes me wonder what your secret is. I’d love to have that many followers on my blog. Please share how you did that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s awesome that you’ve got a goal with regards to your memoir I’m sure you’ll reach it if you persist!! I hear you in terms of it being hard to write about personal moments that are heavily charged with emotion, I believe it’s Stephen King who said “Do not go lightly to the blank page.” It’s never easy to get writing stories like that. I’m sure you’ll reach the point where you’re able to get your work out there in the hands of people who may know what to do with it within the industry. My journey’s been something of a struggle, but hopefully there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I agree, it’s nice to know we’re not alone in our literary journeys it numbs the ache of feeling so lost. I’d say my main secret is striving to interact with other bloggers as much as I can, I try to make sure I get back to commenters and I encourage feedback to posts I put up. And it takes a lot of time and persistence!! Thank you so much for the comment and best of luck to you in writing your memoir!! Happy blogging!! 🙂

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  15. Oscar, firs tof all, thank you for liking my post.

    In a sense, I am in the same boat as you (I am trying to interest agents in my first novel) when it comes to writing though I have had some success as a non-fiction writer. All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s awesome that you’ve at least all ready had some success with writing congrats!! And no problem at all, I’m always hungry so I’m glad the blogosphere’s so chocked full of foodporn haha nice post on homemade banana flour all the best to you as well!! 🙂

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  16. “I’m willing to write and fall better.” I love this line! I also appreciate your honesty, vulnerability, and insightful way of conceptualizing this step in your writing career. I am going to start tomorrow hoping to fail better at my shortcomings. Thank you.

    And don’t give up on your writing! You have a gift.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the kind compliments!! Getting a sense like this of how my writing impacts others helps me feel it’s not all in vain, I wish you nothing but the best in your every pursuit and I wish you growth and self-overcoming. Thank you for your kind words and your encouragement and have a most blessed day!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. “I’m reluctant to put this post on my blog for several reasons. First and foremost, because at the rate that I’ve been blogging I don’t have regular viewers, and so it’s clear that as of now nobody’s going to even read it.”

    Lots of us — hundreds — not only read but “liked” this. Keep going.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the kind comment!! Don’t worry I most certainly am. It’s a marathon but I’m doing my best to keep the pace editing and making my manuscript as solid as I can, thanks once again for the encouragement!!

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  18. Dear Oscar, keep writing… if an agent sends a letter of reply, even if a rejection, see it as positive, if you can. Mostly I send my books off and never hear another thing.
    Your writing is full of humanity, considered and reflective. Don’t stop.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your positivity every bit of motivation greatly helps, I’m still pushing hard to get where I want to get with a literary career and I’m attending a workshop within the next few months and I’m pitching some agents face to face. I made up my mind after not receiving much in the form of encouragement in my first rejection letter to not continue querying until my manuscript was within a limit closer to industry standards for debut novelists, and now that I feel it’s short enough I think it’s worth making a full push now. I really appreciate your positive and supportive words and I’ll be sure to keep going, I’ve come too far now to let my foot off and I wish you all the success in the world with your writing as well!! And happy painting and blogging!!

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