Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Imperfect Pencils, and Rejection Letters

"We all have our shortcomings, but the marvelous thing is that God uses us for His work, even with our weaknesses. God writes through us, and however imperfect pencils we may be, he writes beautifully." - Mother Teresa

Have you ever had one of those days when you feel that your writing is imperfect? Maybe not just imperfect, but not perfect enough?

Lately, I have been a bit manic in my writing. One day is great. The next day is way less than perfect . . . somewhere down in garbage dump type imperfect.

Sometimes those feelings are just something that I have to work out from the inside with confidence and soul building.

Sometimes those feelings come from receiving three rejection letters in two weeks.

The first rejection letter wasn't too bad: "This is a perfectly good story, but it doesn't quite have the feel I want for____. Try it on another market." In fact, I felt kind of honored and hopeful.

The second rejection letter was similar, but I felt disheartened by it: "Thank you for the opportunity to read _________. Unfortunately, your story isn't quite what we're looking for right now."

The third, well, it was even worse: "While the sentiment is nice, it's not working for me," from two of the editors, with "it was sweet" by a third.

I haven't worked on my writing in two days. Bad, bad, bad writer. (shake finger at self)

Not writing anything actually just makes me feel worse about it.

So with some prayer, and some help from a book about Mother Teresa (my oldest daughter is studying world cultures, and missionaries and is currently studying India), I decided that I'm going to write anyway.

I'm an imperfect pencil. I know that through and through, but I feel that God has pointed me towards writing. I don't mean by saying that, that I think have beaucoup talent, but more that I feel directed by God's providence, and a love for stories and words.

So here I am, Lord, write with me. Please.

In the words of Mercy Me in their song, "3:42 A.M. (Writer's Block):
"3:41 AM, make that 3:42
Time just keeps rolling on while I'm here stuck like glue
So many things cross my mind
But nothing stays awhile, so frustrating
I just wanna say something worth while, speak through me

Say, say what You wanna say, and say it loudly
Say, say what You wanna say

6:45 AM, man that just can't be right
3 hours have gone by and this is all I've got
My common sense tells me I should get out the way, so You can speak
O Lord, show up or I'll be here all day, speak through me"


Karen Lange said...

I can relate:) All writers get rejection letters and struggle some days. If we didn't have the down times, though, we probably wouldn't appreciate the up times as much. At least that's my theory. Blessings!

Jessica Nelson said...

I was completely feeling that way last night. I got three rejection letters yesterday. :-( Not fun and I was wondering if my writing was ready...I just don't know.
Thanks for sharing that quote. It's beautiful!

Angie said...

Rejections are hard. :( I have felt the same way about writing. I love your phrase "an imperfect pencil." You can do it! You have the right approach.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Karen - I agree, sometimes the up times are sweeter because of the down times. The first time one of my stories sold, I jumped up and down, then got down on my knees and prayed, then jumped up and down again.

Jessica - I know how that feels, and yet sometimes I've sent a story out to several different markets, and finally found the right one at the right time. It depends not only on the quality of the writing, but the tone of the market, the mood of the editor, and timing. I hope you are feeling better today, and that one of your stories gets accepted soon!

Angie - thanks for the wonderful encouragement!