Exactly two years ago this week, I made a decision that changed my life. I joined a site called inkpop.
For those of you who don't know how inkpop works, it's kind of like American Idol for writers. You post your work, people vote or "pick" it, and it rises up the charts. At the end of the month, the top 5 picks get a review from a HarperCollins editor. (REALLY cool... how often do you get to have a real live breathing editor review your work before it's query ready?)
At this point, I had the first ten thousands words of Shadow Watchers written and decided to upload it onto inkpop to see how it was received by teens.
My story rocketed. I was floored. Within two weeks, it shot to the number one spot and stayed there for the remainder of the month. Usually it took months to get into the top five, if that. And that's if you knew how to work it.
When my review from HarperCollins came in, I was sick. Sure, I had fooled teens to like my work *winks* but what about a Harper editor?
It ended up being a great review. And I took the advice whole-heartedly. A little too heartedly as you'll see below.
Part of my advice was and I quote: "There can be a fine line between intriguing readers and frustrating them by doling out too little information." This was in response to the editor saying there was not enough answers being given up front. Great advice. I needed to hear it.
But I went overboard. I grasped onto this advice like a dying man in need of water. (Who wouldn't?) This became clear when the feedback coming in from agents was that the action never stopped. That I didn't slow down enough for the reader to take in the setting and catch up. Funny huh? Note to self: Find balance.
Right after my review is when I believe I lost sense of my story--when I began to lose "that feeling" I wanted to surround my words. Because I was writing to appease advice I was given instead of what I knew was right deep down. And I won't expand further, because I've already done a post on this here.
But it's okay. Because now it's clicked. I don't regret any advice I've taken and I don't feel remorse for a single rejection I've received. <-------and it's taken quite a bit for me to get here. But I am finally where I need to be. I'm in the part of the V for Vendetta when Natalie Portman is standing in the rain, crying, lifting her arms to the sky because she isn't afraid anymore.
I'm not afraid anymore. I'm not afraid of rejection.
As Herald Angus Penn (inkpop buddy, aka Ryan Greenspan) once told me, "It makes us stronger, doesn't it?"
I'm glad I'm not there yet. I'm going to enjoy the refiners fire. Because if I had had an easy "success" story, I wouldn't have learned that the success I needed first was conquering fear of rejection--not getting agent, getting published, or letting my friends down.
And why was it that I joined inkpop in the first place? To see how my work would be received. I ended up getting so much more. I've connected with the world's best breed of people, aligned myself with the most talented beta readers, and most importantly, made friendships that go far beyond the writing world.
Red. Head. Out. :D