by Alycia W. Morales
As conference season gets into full swing again, it's important to remember that there's only so much we can control when it comes to our writing and obtaining publication.
If you've been to conferences more than once, you'll already know that there are a variety of writers out there who have just as much a variety of personalities. To top it off, there are just as many ways of handling rejection and acceptance, as well as critique.
The most evident of these is the person who blows up in front of everyone. They scream and yell at the publisher. They ugly cry on the agent's shoulder. These are the drama kings and queens who everyone stares at long enough to notice but then looks away out of embarrassment of being in the same space with them. These are the ones who bash industry professionals, which only points out their amateur status. These are the people we all shake our heads at, because throwing temper tantrums is going to get them blacklisted from those who can make or break their career. Check your pride at the door, because it won't get you anywhere at a writers conference.
Then we have the secret slayers. These writers are really great at putting on a happy face in public, but as soon as the door closes they're all about cutting down anyone who comes against them. They have the same pride as the drama queens. They just show out in private instead of public. Again, not what you want to do at a writers conference. Because people talk, and eventually the secret slayers' career will be slain.
Another type of writer is the one who handles rejection fairly well, but they must talk about it ... repeatedly. This one will go over and over and over how they feel. They will wonder and debate why their writing was rejected. They will be jealous of the person who had a piece accepted. They may whine a bit. And if they were smart, they thanked the one who rejected them for their time.
If we're really serious about our writing careers and want to make a good impression, we've developed what we like to call "thick skin" and wear it well. This doesn't mean it's any easier to handle having red marks all over our manuscripts or a rejection letter from our dream publishing house. But we don't puke nasty words all over everyone we come in contact with. We whisper to our friend or shed a few quiet tears on their shoulder as we fake that we're merely hugging them. And we smile and thank the one who rejected us for their time.
Because we understand that God is in control of our writing career.
He knows when the time is right. When we've put in our best effort. When we just aren't ready yet.
He knows who will best represent Him and our work. He knows who we will relate to well.
He knows who we need to stay away from. He knows what we don't need to write.
He knows if this is just a hobby or if it's a career.
And when we listen to His voice and don't confuse it with our own, everything falls into place.
Even if it isn't our idea of favor, blessing, publisher, agent, direction, or timing. Because He surely knows better than we do.
And if we can learn to trust Him, we'll not turn into the ugly crying drama queen who annoys everyone around them. Instead, we'll shine His light in love and allow Him to have the glory in our careers. Because it simply isn't about us. It's about glorifying God on earth and blessing our readers.