Tuesday, May 14, 2013

When the writing life doesn’t go your way

Myra here. I won’t bore you with the details, but May has turned out to be a busy, crazy, and extremely difficult month for me. So today I’m pulling one of my posts from deep within the archives and sprucing it up (just a bit).

This post was inspired by a feature in my local newspaper back in 2008 describing do’s and don’ts for dealing with the breakup of a relationship. It struck me at the time that some of this advice (or variations thereof) could also apply when we get a rejection, bad review, or painful contest critique.

If one or more of those shockers hasn’t come your way yet, you haven’t been writing long enough--or else you’ve never, ever, ever risked letting your manuscript be seen by anyone besides adoring family members or friends who would rather lie through their teeth than bruise your sensitive writer’s ego.

On the other hand, if you’re already courageously sending your precious words out into the world, here are some suggestions for handling the inevitable writing disappointments:

Do not, under any circumstances, make any life-altering decisions (such as throwing out your computer or burning all your manuscripts) until at least two weeks have passed. If you still don’t have any perspective, wait another two weeks. Or a month. Or a year.

Stay away from sharp objects. (Ask my kids about this one if you dare! Or read about it here.)

Don’t post a YouTube video of you dissing the editor/agent/judge/reviewer.

Don’t send a hate e-mail or text message. Even anonymously. Tech experts have ways of finding out who you are. Just watch CSI or NCIS if you don’t believe me.

If you can’t resist venting about your disappointment on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook page, thoroughly disguise the details and NEVER name names! The Internet has a long, l-o-o-o-o-n-g memory (and so do agents and editors, I promise). Better yet, avoid any kind of Internet-related commentary. Eat chocolate until the urge passes.

Don’t badmouth editors, agents, or fellow writers to your writers group. You will be the one who ends up looking like Miss (or Mr.) Whiny-Pants.

Vent only to someone you are absolutely 525% positive would never, ever reveal a confidence, even if tortured with chocolate deprivation or offered a three-book contract if only she will reveal your secrets. And then think twice about it.

Mailing anthrax will get you 20 years to life. Mailing chocolate makes friends. Unless it melts.

Don’t try to change your detractor’s mind with pleading, wheedling, begging, or threats. See chocolate advice above.

If you run into this person at a writers conference, be polite, friendly, and professional. Your reputation is on the line at this point, not theirs. You never know who may be watching. Like maybe the agent who was seconds away from signing you, or the editor who just decided you would not be the kind of author she’d ever want to work with in a million years.

Send a gracious thank-you note, no matter how badly you’re hurting. As the Bible says, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you” (Prov. 25:21-22). If not with a six-figure contract offer, at least with enough $$ to drown your sorrows in a grande mocha latte.

Okay, Seekervillagers, anything you’d add to the list? Any blunders you’d like to confess? Any public apologies you feel compelled to make, anonymously or otherwise?

While you’re thinking about it, I’ll pass around this mega-sized box of truffles I just opened. Help yourselves . . . especially anyone I may have inadvertently whined about at some point in my career.


Award-winning author Myra Johnson is a Texan through and through, but (except for the scarcity of real Texas barbecue) she has no regrets about her move two years ago to the scenic Carolinas. Myra’s recent novels include A Horseman’s Heart, A Horseman’s Gift, and A Horseman’s Hope (Heartsong Presents). Her first Heartsong Presents novel, Autumn Rains, won the 2005 RWA Golden Heart and was a 2010 ACFW Carol Award finalist. Myra and her husband of 41 years proudly claim two beautiful daughters and two fine sons-in-law with huge hearts for ministry. Six precious grandchildren take up another big chunk of Myra’s heart. The Johnsons also enjoy bird-watching from the back porch and pampering a very spoiled furry black lapdog. Learn more about Myra and her books at www.MyraJohnson.com.


  1. OH MY GOSH, MYRA! I know this sounds like common sense but there are folks without it. I KNOW someone who sent an agent a snarky follow up letter.

    The publishing pond is much too small to do that.

  2. I know I whined about contest results yesterday. They were BRUTAL [and I didn't mention most of it - or what contest or...]

    I don't *think* I've ever made any of those faux pas - in writing or other life - but I wouldn't put it past me. I did say something about my friend cutting my hair shorter than I wanted [like inches shorter] in high school. I was trying so desperately trying not to cry because I didn't want her to feel bad. But then she overheard me :(.

    I think I need chocolate...

  3. Hi Myra:

    This is all great advice. I can see why you chose it to share again.

    I believe that the more brutal the comments, the more heartfelt my thanks for the judge’s frankness should be. This just makes sense.

    If you are snarky, then the judge will feel that you validated her opinion of you. If you are genuine in your praise for her honesty in trying to help you improve, then she may very well feel you were treated a little too harshly and be more predisposed to be more diplomatic in the future. Maybe not to you but to the next you. And you could well be someone else’s next you in the next contest.

    I think there is a certain chocolatesque justice in making a mean judge feel bad for being too harsh. As in pool: it’s not how hard you hit the balls, it’s where you leave them on the table for the next shot.


  4. This is good advice for many aspects of life.

    meeting carrie today in williamburg for lunch and the afternoon.
    went to mount vernon yesterday what a house! Oh and view.

  5. I like how contests are all electronic now, but I liked being able to send the thank yous by hand written notes rather than by email. Forwarding a 'email' note through the coordinator feels rather plastic.

    I think receiving the negative comments at a time when you are personally feeling like a fake is the worst. We must be able to handle criticism or we might as well write for our friends. But, boy, when I've been struggling creatively and someone confirms my worst fears... that's a tough one to handle for a few days. IT's good to have a venting buddy or two because that's a lot of chocolate!

    speaking of. what's for breakfast? I'm starved!

  6. Myra,

    Do not feel alone. I had a solid plan in place for my revisions in May....I have had to move to plan B......

    Great advice.

  7. Good morning, Seekerville! Just getting organized this morning. And still in recovery mode after two days on the road home from our grandson's high school graduation and visiting family. Give me a little more time to get my act together and I'll be back to chat shortly!

  8. Good morning, Myra!

    Great advice and perfect timing. I have two contest entries and a manuscript submission out there - waiting for results - and NOW is the time I need to decide how to respond to either positive or negative news.

    And I agree wholeheartedly to the chocolate therapy! When in doubt, apply chocolate!

  9. Myra,
    This is so very very true. I am still feeling remorse for a temper tantrum I had with an editor 10 years ago (before I finally realized it's about relationships and the Journey!). I understand the process better now, and I understand the subjectivity. I also understand human nature -- for every "brutal" comment, there's a good one lurking in the wings. My First Impressions entry had two good scores (one by our own Mary C) and one saying in effect that it needed major work, but Not To Give Up. Although these people are professionals, the nature of writing determines that some of their response is subjective. I love to read the fake rejection letters on the last page of Writer's Digest -- you can't get any more subjective than those.
    After a long time of NOT getting this right, I have to invoke the
    12th commandment: "Thou shalt not snark." (The 11th is something about internet hacking, I didn't really pay attention.)
    Kathy Bailey
    Pre-pubbed in New Hampshire

  10. HI Myra, How about a cup of coffee to help you get going? Those trips are so much fun, but wow, getting back on track is brutal. Trust me, I know. smile

    I brought some Krispy Cremes too. Hope that helps. The truffles were a nice touch.

    And yes, great advice. One thing that all the hard critiques did for me is toughen my skin so when I had to deal with editors and revisions, they were a piece of cake. One thing you learn with all the crits is that what you read and write is so subjective.

    So many editors rejected Price of Victory because they said it had too much bicycling and action. But the editor who bought it said they bought it because they loved all the bicycling. Go figure. And see what I mean.

    Great post. Thanks for reminding us.

  11. MYRA--this is a great post. We all go through discouragement. Having your words can help us cling to common sense even when we want to vent our emotions in some, um, long-term-damaging ways. Thanks for this.

    You mentioned this, but one thing I've found helpful after receiving discouraging contest comments is to give myself permission to cry, to throw a 24-hour chocolate filled pity party. Then, as Ruthy would say, I need to pull up my big girl panties and move forward.

    I've got a good friend who listens to my heartache, my scores and my comments and helps me see them through a different perspective. I can usually take in her words, but they sometimes take longer for me to absorb. :)

  12. JENNY--How wonderful that you got to see Mount Vernon. Isn't it incredible?! I hope you enjoy Williamsburg!

  13. Thanks Myra - Needed those truffles (sorry I ate so many of them) and the advice.

  14. I have never sent a thank you card. Is that Snarky?

    Sandra, pass the Krispy Kreme.

  15. Myra, thanks for your valuable advice wrapped in humor and chocolate. You rock! A writer's ups and downs are rollercoaster crazy. While we're on this ride, we're wise to keep our mouths sealed shut. Never know what might fly out and get us in trouble, or worse, what icky thing might fly in.

    Yesterday Nancy K said a judge is never wrong. Another thought that struck me, I'm not always right. Who knew? LOL


  16. Jenny, you're visiting many of my favorite spots. Have fun!


  17. Hey, Myra ... funny, isn't it, how both times I read this blog I really, REALLY needed it!! :) Which pretty much says disappointment is a constant in the writing biz, whether you're a big name or not, so THANK YOU for your very sound advice!

    I especially concur with your statement: "Send a gracious thank-you note, no matter how badly you’re hurting. As the Bible says, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you” (Prov. 25:21-22).

    I like to couple that with Matthew 5:44, which says: "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you ..."

    Because I may not send chocolate or a note, but I ALWAYS pray for blessing for those who hurt me because I have seen SO much power and good come from that.

    One time I came across a blog written by a fellow ACFW author who literally trashed my first book, saying she couldn't get past the first few chapters -- yep, right there on her blog for all the world to see. To say I was hurt was an understatement, so trust me -- that gal got PLENTY of prayer for a long while. The turning point came when I ran into that very author at a conference and decided to kill her with kindness. I had never met her before, so I introduced myself and had coffee with her and actually prayed with her about problems she was having. From that point on, a friendship began, which totally dispelled any residue of anger or bitterness I may have had. I attribute that first and foremost to prayer, which I think is the single most important thing we can do. And not the kind of prayer that says, "God, get 'em," but the blessing kind of prayer where you wish the best for them. Not easy to do, but OH so effective!!

    Great blog, today, my friend!


  18. As someone who received his latest rejection yesterday, I would like to note the chocolate wasn't working as well as I hoped. However, a key lime cheesecake doughnut seems to be doing the trick.

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  20. Julie, I've used the verse you quoted from Proverbs to sustain me more than once.

  21. Myra, I think having the frame of mind that you have written about here, before we send our work out into the world, is half the battle.
    So thank you for the reminder!

    I hope you get some down time soon!

  22. Okay, dressed (sort of), laundry started, computer up and running . . . I THINK I'm about ready to settle in at the computer for a while.

    TINA, you'd think common sense would prevail in situations like these, but sometimes the brain misfires and stupidity takes over. Crazy.

    CAROL, brutal critiques are definitely hard to take. Any writer who's entered more than a contest or two has surely encountered a less-than-diplomatic judge. Just like editors and agents, judges have good days . . . and they have bad days. Kind of like good and bad haircuts???

  23. Hi, VINCE. Kind of like "killing with kindness"? And I love your pool analogy! It's where the balls end up that counts.

    JENNY! Sounds like you are having a wonderful tour in the USA! Our family visited Williamsburg and Mt. Vernon years ago when the girls were young. So fun!

  24. Hi, DEBRA! Speaking from a contest judge's perspective, I have to say I do like getting those thank-you notes. Sometimes I can tell the entrant really grasped what I tried to say in my comments . . . and sometimes I can tell she was just being polite. But it's still nice to have that hour or two of work acknowledged. Contest judges are taking valuable time out of their regular writing days to give feedback.

  25. ROSE, sometimes it seems like life is just a series of Plan Bs . . . and Cs . . . and Ds . . . Nice to remember God sees the big picture!

    JAN, good for you for working on your attitude ahead of time!

    KATHY, I love your new commandment--"Thou shalt not snark!" This should be emblazoned on every writer's wall above the computer!

  26. SANDRA, thanks for serving up some breakfast. I have been very negligent in that department! Krispy Kremes would be a decadent delight and go great with a steaming cup of coffee!

    You're so right--this is a subjective business we're in. Sometimes cruelly so. You just never know what will strike a chord (positive or negative) with an editor, agent, or contest judge on any given day.

  27. JEANNE, it's so good to have a trusted friend who'll listen both objectively and sympathetically to your vents. The Seekers have been that "shoulder to cry on" for each other since we first banded together, and we hope everyone who visits Seekerville can feel comfortable sharing their ups and downs with us.

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  29. CINDY, go easy on the truffles, okay? Pace yourself!!!

    BRIDGETT, get on those thank-you notes right now! It isn't snarky not to, but judges really appreciate them. It validates the effort they've gone to.

  30. Hi Myra - great advice. What'd this may explain my addiction to chocolate. . .

    1. Hmm, I can't seem to type this morning. Meant to say and, not what'd!

  31. JANET, you know, that makes sense--"a judge is never wrong." Misguided, maybe. Opinionated, definitely! But as far as the subjective aspects of judging, opinions are nothing more than what they are.

    The only time I'd call a judge wrong is if he or she scored something based on incorrect parameters, like page layout. Or if the judge didn't know grammar rules (GQ made me say that).

  32. I'm on an extended trip with Mom right now. It's tiring, as we have been gone almost two weeks already instead of the one week I had thought. But it is awesome having her well enough to do it! My me time is first thing in the morning while she is still asleep...and the donuts and coffee are very welcome, as are the comments and posts here

  33. JULIE, you make an important observation. We never really know what's going on in someone else's life or heart that might cause them to give hurtful criticism or otherwise treat us thoughtlessly. Prayer works wonders. I'm so glad you were able to develop a good relationship with this person.

  34. WALT, key lime cheesecake (doughnut or otherwise) sounds like a perfectly acceptable substitute. So sorry about the R!!!

    DONNA, not sure when there will be more down time around here! I had a couple of days last week while we were out of town, so those may have to last me for the foreseeable future.

  35. SHERIDA, when you can't think of anything else to say to a judge, just try, "Thank you for sharing your time and experience as a contest judge. Your efforts are appreciated."

    TERRI, chocolate is a necessity in my life. At least one piece a day no matter what's going on!

    MARIANNE, I hope you and your mom are having a wonderful time together. You are making precious memories!

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  37. I posted really early but Blogger ate my comment which meant I probably shouldn't have said it!!!

    Myra, this bears repeating annually.

    You are so smart.

    And my earlier eaten comment was a reminder that nothing... not even private loops... are completely private because people are, well... people.

    And tongues wag.

    Be careful. Be mindful. Better yet, be quiet.


    God talks about silence and stillness. Those are good lessons for those of us who talk too much!

  38. VINCE --- blah blah blah ---


    That aside, I like your parody on Hamlet. :-) Well said!

  39. Wonderful blog, Myra...as always!

    Pass the chocolate, please.

    True story...

    I received a rejection from an agent many years ago, and I stopped writing for six months. No, I didn't draft a snarky letter or disparage her name, but I stopped writing cold turkey. Shame on me.

    After six months, I had healed enough to start again.

    Crazy me. Rejection hurts. Always. But don't be as foolish as I was. Keep moving forward!

  40. RUTHY, so true!!! In the age of the Internet, NOTHING is private!

  41. DEBBY, sometimes it takes awhile to heal from rejection. You prayed me through a really tough time right before I sold my first novel, and I'll always be grateful.

    And the world is glad you started writing again! Love your military romantic suspense novels!!!

  42. Myra,

    Great advice! I entered the same ms in 3 or 4 contests. Got one final, then a real slap-down from another, which led me to believe I wouldn't final in the Genesis, but lo and behold, I did get the semi-finalist call! So you never know. (Still waiting on the 4th one).

    One time I received what I thought was a very NASTY critique by a judge. So what I did was write my own comments beside hers, (like: Are you blind? I just answered that question 2 lines back!) It made me feel very good. Funny thing, I kept that print out and fast forward about 4 years and I'm revamping that ms and I re-read her comments. They weren't so far off! I had since made a lot of the changes she suggested. Course she could have been a little kinder in the way she suggested them!! Great lesson learned 4 years later! LOL.


  43. Oh we're supposed to send graceous thank you notes. Not threats made from newspaper cut outs. Who knew...


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  45. Thanks for your insight. I found that after last remarks in a contest that I stopped writing for a while. I just didn't have the confidence. I didn't write snarky comments because I surmise they may be correct. The way I figured is if I didn't write I didn't take a risk. Silly, right?

  46. Jenny, Mount Vernon is my old stomping grounds.

    I graduated from Mount Vernon High and lived less than a mile from George's home. My girlfriends and I used to stop by the MT Vernon Snack Shop for ice cream cones.

    Enjoy Williamsburg.

  47. Hmm, re Castle, I just watched without trying to second guess what was going to happen.

    But a few episodes ago, when Kate was standing on the bomb and Castle refused to leave her (Awwwwww, so romantic) - Did that not clue them in to how serious their relationship was?? Hello..... Sometimes I just don't get Kate at all.

    Should be interesting next season....

  48. Sue Anne,
    LOL at what you did. Love the idea of writing comments next to the judge's critique!

  49. SUE, it's amazing what starts making sense to us as we grow our writing skills. As mentioned earlier, judges are not usually "wrong," but they don't always cloak their criticisms in the kindest ways. Glad you found an effective outlet for your frustration--and that with time you found some value in your judge's remarks.

  50. TINA P, I wondered where those newspaper cutout death threats came from--LOL!!!

    KATHY, we must never, ever base our confidence on any one judge's, editor's or agent's feedback. I had to learn to take criticism as a challenge and work even harder to improve my writing.

  51. SUE--I know what you mean about Kate. She's open to Castle in some ways but keeps holding back in others. Now I can't wait to see the season finale!


  52. This is great advice for living period. I know I've made faux pas at work in the past regarding adminstrative decisions that make absolutely no sense and anyone who worked with kids would know that but...oops...I think I need to read this blog again.

    I appreciate everyone sharing about their contest and editor experiences -- the highs and lows and inbetweens. Helps newbies like me put things in perspective before I find myself in similiar circumstances.

    I'm praying I'm teachable and able to put critques and judges' comments in perspective. And I'm really, really, really praying for a heart open to change so that I can improve my craft. I'll have to copy and paste that last part and tape it to my desk so I remember when the time comes and I'm feeling fragile. :-)

  53. Myra, my Texas S.I.R.E. friend!
    LOVED this post. Especially the part about not venting to someone unless sure they wouldn't give you up even for a three book contract.
    And even then I make sure to do so by phone. For all those other reasons you shared. =)

  54. KAV, we've all had our fragile moments, or hours, or weeks, or . . . you get the picture! And really, I can't say it gets any easier with time or experience. Criticism and rejection hurt. Period. It doesn't matter how much praise and encouragement we've already received. Just one negative or hurtful comment can erase it all in a blinding flash.

  55. NANCY!!!! How's it going? SIRE was such a wonderful part of my life. Do you still volunteer? I always thought I'd look for another therapeutic riding center after we left Texas, but time (and energy!) got away from me.

  56. Myra, thanks for the delicious truffle!

    You're a very wise woman. I've never done this, but if you're angry about an agent, editor, another writer etc. you can always write her a letter and letter. But don't forget to delete it!

  57. LOL, CARA! I'd be afraid I'd accidentally hit "send" and then that would be the end of my writing career! I've groused in my private journals, though. And privately to Seekers, of course. ;-)

  58. I'm baaaaaaaack! Sorry I've been gone. I had an eye infection and lots of doctor's appointments along with PT on my neck for a recurring muscular issue. Add in the day job, writing and an editing job I took on because the money was just too good to pass up and my days have been FULL.

    I got some contest results last weekend. One judge loved my voice and everything about the entry. Another hated it and questioned the basic premise of the story on a factual basis. When I send my email thank-you notes, I plan to very politely tell her that I Googled that fact umpteen ways to nothing and yes, you can do what my heroine wants to do. I'll thank her for being attentive to detail because I've had inaccurate facts derail my enjoyment of a story. It's just too easy to do online research these days.

    Anyway, my website group and I used to do a special informative blog each year before the RWA conference. One of the things we emphasized was to behave and not become someone's blog fodder for the week after conference. I remember after my first conference there was lots of emailing (this was pre-Facebook) about someone being drunk in an elevator and saying something negative about an editor. And that editor was in the back of the elevator and heard.

    Anyhoo, I'm still here. Sent of a submission last night and a contest entry night before last. And tonight I'll be editing away at that paying job.

    Off to the day job. Y'all have a good afternoon!


  59. Hi Myra:

    You’re right! Please delete my Castle comment. I tried to but Blogger would not let me. I thought you could delete your comment for the first 24 hours of positing. Please just delete the whole comment.


  60. MARILYN, so sorry about your eye infection. Those are awful! So is neck pain--ugh! Hope you're doing better very, very soon!

    Yep, the same entry in the same contest will often get conflicting opinions from different judges. Hopefully a third judge will lean one way or the other and help you get some perspective.

    "Don't be blog fodder." Another great piece of advice every writer should heed!

  61. Oh, don't worry about it, VINCE. Anyone who doesn't want to know the Castle ending can just skip over that paragraph as I did. ;-D

  62. I second what Myra said about never knowing who is watching you. I've been in a Christian band for most of my life and that's something my dad drummed into my head over the years. You never know who is watching and you have a responsibility to those who are. Your temper tantrum or snarky action not only reflects badly on you, it reflects badly on anyone who associates with you AND your Heavenly Father if you call yourself a Christian author. That's why it is so important to be full of grace and poise, even when it's hard. Great post, Myra. :)

    (Hopping off my soapbox and going to hunt down one of those donuts.)

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  64. Good point, ANNA. Even when you think no one is watching or listening, you never know who may have just walked into the room or is standing behind you. And God is ALWAYS watching!

  65. I'm good, Myra, thanks. =)
    No, I've never returned to volunteer but yes, it was a very special time for me too.
    My testimony is on my website but in 2009 in a season I call "my advanced tutorial" in faith, one of the things that was driven home was I am responsible for who? Me. Not that other person.
    Learning to zip my lips and unpack my motives about why I said things about other people to other people was sadly enlightening.
    And I think the cell phone and facebook are as much to blame for further deteriorating people's "filter." I've been in elevators where someone is having a heart to heart or rant session on a cell to the point I've had to clear my throat and give them that "Hello! That's innappropriate!" smile.
    And FB? Sheesh. It's a petri-dish for passive/aggressive, narcissistic behavior and pack mentality but I just thank Jesus that but for the Grace of God there go I (and before 2009 I did go) and continue to be mindful of anything I post, or like, or see.

  66. Waving to Marilyn as she heads to work. Sorry about the eye infection and neck problems.

    Sending hugs and chicken soup!

  67. I never watched Castle. Shame on me.

    Maybe next season.

    But I REALLY want to know how the season ends. Go figure!

  68. so like.....don't go up to an editor who rejected you and say,"Neener, neener, neener."

    Is that right, Myra?

  69. NANCY, you are so right about FB, cell phones, etc. Do certain people not realize what they are saying about themselves?

    BTW, I looked up your website this morning and came across your testimony. Glad you found your way through that dark time.

  70. MARY, you might be able to get away with a "neener, neener." Not sure about the rest of us. ;-D

  71. MYRA, I have another dimension to the snarking issue.
    "Snark not, and be ye not snarked."
    What goes around comes around.
    TINA, interesting about the newspaper cutouts. My day job is in print journalism, which is holding on for dear life. When newspapers go, how will people leave ransom notes?
    Kathy Bailey

  72. KATHY--oh, my, maybe kidnappers will send emails instead???

    Uh, nope. Those can be traced.

    Well, maybe an upside of the shortage of print media will be a drop in the kidnapping rate.

    And so true: What goes around comes around.

  73. I agree about electronic thank yous. I make my own cards! But I can thank folks for what they give me in terms of life lessons.

    I am having to do a lot of thinking about my writing and the direction I go with it. Moving rocks around the backyard for the patio walls is helping keep me occupied.

    Prayers for you.

    Peace, Julie

  74. PS. It is great to have a group of folks who commiserate together.

    Walt, prayers the donut helped and you keep on keeping on.

    Peace, Julie

  75. JULIE, moving rocks sounds like work!!! I think I saw your picture of this on Facebook. Oh, goodness!!! I hope you find the experience meditative and inspirational. I will be spending the day inside at my computer.

    But tomorrow--warmth returns to the Carolinas!!!! I can hardly wait!

  76. Sending rice cakes to Walt...

    So sorry! Keep moving forward. You've got two unique series that you want to develop. Both will require a very special editor who sees outside the box.

    She/he is out there, waiting for your stories.

  77. Thank you, Myra. =)

    And no, I don't think they do. Poor things, hehe.

  78. LOL! I love this, Myra!! Such perfect advice. :)

    I especially love having to be 525% sure you can trust someone. LOL

  79. I've been off the internet for almost a week!!! Lost my AT&T air card. Turned the couch upside numerous times. Found several things, but no air car. My mother-in-law found it today in her pj pocket while doing laundry...

    I've missed Seekerville so much.

    This isn't exactly snarky, just not smart.
    One time I entered a contest where an Avon editor was the final judge. She did NOT like my opening at all. I didn't change a thing and then entered it into a contest w/a Harper Collins editor was the final judge. Uh...hello??? Same company. She didn't like it any better the second time around.

  80. MISSY, you really can't put a percentage on trustworthiness, but it's important to feel a super-high level of confidence before venting. Thank goodness I have it with the Seekers!

  81. CONNIE, glad you finally found your air card and nice to have you back! Wow, funny (not the laughing kind) story! A lesson learned, I'm sure. And evidence about the long memory, not to mention the "small world," of editors.

  82. Oh gosh, I am so late ... And on an iPad to boot so there's no telling how bad my typing will be. But enough about me :-) Thank you for re-sharing this, Myra. Wise words bear repeating ... and unwise words can never, ever be taken back. I found a good way to vent. I tell my computer. I whine and call names and pitch fits, and then I delete it and get on with life.

    But some days the bad news or criticism can be really hard to take, doubly so because I can't eat chocolate. Sniffle. So sad. Sniffle.

    Nancy C

  83. Sorry I'm super late joining in today (not really sure WHERE this day went?!). Great post, Myra--such excellent advice and reminders.

    Waving at Jenny as she continues her travels! ~ And Debby G.--I didn't realize you graduated from Mount Vernon high school--how special to live so close to such an historic place. Wow!

    Even though it's late, I'm having a truffle---YUM! Sorry that May has been so rough for you, Myra. Praying the remainder of the month will be smoother.

    Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo

  84. Thank you Myra, an excellent article! I'm waiting now to hear back from an editor.
    This advice will help me keep in mind the 'proper' response, no matter which way it goes.

    I've already had chocolate, thanks. :-)

  85. NANCY, thanks for coming by and braving the iPad keyboard! Those things are tricky! Smart to vent to your computer and then delete. But so sorry you can't indulge in chocolate! Maybe try Walt's alternative, key lime cheesecake doughnuts??? I hate to think how many calories are in one of those things!

  86. PATTI JO, I'm hoping the rest of May evens out for me. The toughest part was making a super-hard decision to let our 10-year-old epileptic doggy rest from her increasing struggles. Still grieving, but we still have her "little brother," Shadow, to love on, which helps a lot.

  87. MARY HICKS, glad you could stop in. Hoping you won't need ANY of this advice when you receive the news you're waiting for!

  88. Good solid advice, Myra! Great for any relationships! Thanks!

  89. As both a judge and contestant in the last two Genesis contests, as well a others, I'm well experienced on both sides of the coin.

    This year I entered one ms in Genesis. It was an entry that last year was a semi-finalist and ultimately landed me my wonderful agent. So I had high hopes when I entered the (I thought) much stronger manuscript. Not only did it not semi but was scored over 40 points lower in total.

    While I was disappointed, it was also a good reminder for me that writing is always subjective! At least I get to absorb my feedback in private, unlike if I'm ever a published author when negative reviews are posted for the world to read!

    As a judge, I just want to say please please please send your judges thank you notes. Even if you disagree with everything that they said. Even if all you can bring yourself to write (through gritted teeth) is thank you for taking the time out of their own writing to be a judge.

    Last year I judged over 20 Genesis entries, including some spectacular entries that I knew went on to semi and final. They took me hours and hours. I received two thank you notes, ironically very gracious ones from my lower scored entries.

    Judges don't judge for effusive thank you notes but when you've spent hours upon hours on these entries, they do mean a lot!