‘No’s’ are worth money, that’s what a man I highly respect, Matt Morris, says, and I think he’s right. He did not say it about writing, but so what? The same principle applies. So I should be rich now, right? That’s another ‘No’.
Twitter was kind enough to deliver up 4 ‘No’s’ in various contests this week (I could, technically, stretch that to 6 if I wanted, but that might be cheating). I love twitter, by the way. I never thought I would, I expected to hate it, but dammit! I don’t. So the No total stands at 29.
Lest you think I’m taking this all a bit too lightly, I’m not. Every single ‘No’ hurts. They all represent rejection in some form or fashion, and nobody likes being rejected. Yet you can’t let them stop you, either, so taking Matt’s lesson a step further, ‘No’ means ‘not right now’. If I had five good selling novels under my belt, which I will at some point, most of those ‘No’s’ would be ‘Hell Yesses’!
Since I’m a military history guy, I’ll put it this way. Battleships were built to withstand multiple hits from large weapons, yet a lot of them were sunk anyway. Enough damage will sink anything, including a writer’s aspirations, so actively courting negative responses might sound squirrely. That’s because it is. Sticking with the battleship analogy, however, the trick was for the ship’s armor to be so thick that hits bounced off. Then the battleship could survive even the worst enemy fire and still fight back. And that’s what a writer has to develop, an armored shield so thick that it can’t be penetrated.
Matt’s logic works, too. Depending on how you classify ‘No’ and ‘Yes’, I’ve had at least two ‘Yesses.’ (More if you count manuscript full requests, which I don’t, but that would push it to a whopping 7) That’s pretty damned good. And in writing, it’s not the number of ‘Yesses’ that matters, because you only need the right ONE. As Matt Morris has also said (paraphrasing), what if you are on #199 and are so depressed you quit, but #200 is the Yes you’ve been looking for?
Winston Churchill summed it up this way: “Never, never, never, never give up.”
Wow, can I pontificate or what?
LATE EDIT: Just after I posted this, an English agency gave it a pass, although they did say it was close and they had to debate it. I guess that counts for something.