Jennifer Lyon

Thursday, October 7th, 2010
Musing on Failure and Success in Writing

Correction! I completely misquoted Jenny Bent.  Her actual tweet was I just blogged on failure, and bravery and heart (clearly something the fellow in my last tweet has a lot of). My sincere apologies to Ms. Bent! I’ve corrected it below as well. And may I add that Jenny Bent was very gracious in pointing out my error!

I rarely do this on this blog, but I’m going to talk a bit about writing.  I saw a tweet the other day by the agent Jenny Bent that said, “I just blogged on failure, and bravery and heart (clearly something the fellow in my last tweet has a lot of).

This totally resonated with me.  Rejection? It hurts like a bitch. Been there, done that, and I expect to do it again in the future. It’s part of the business. I don’t like it, but I know that I must risk rejection to have any hope of success. That is true for almost anything we do in life.

But Jenny’s tweet really caught my attention right now because I just sent a synopsis to my agent. I told her I needed this synopsis to be very strong and wanted her input.

Guess what I got back? Her input.  Direct and profession. She is not worried about hurting my feelings, she is focusing on her job of helping me make this project as strong as possible.  The first time I read through her comments, it stung a bit. I did not send her my first draft, I sent her something I really worked on. That I put true time and thought into.

But the cold fact is that it’s not strong enough. Period. It doesn’t matter how much I sweated over it. The synopsis needs more work.  So I’m working on it.  Really struggling to add the elements my agent suggested, while keeping the parts that I love and making it all work cohesively.  And once I do that? There are no guarantees that my agent will like it.

And if she does, and we send it to my editor, it doesn’t mean she’ll buy it.  All this sweat, all this work, all this worrying and fretting–it could all be a big fat waste of time and effort. Or it could be exactly what I need to propel me up to the next level of success.

I’ll never know–unless I try.

7 comments to “Musing on Failure and Success in Writing”

  1. B.E. Sanderson
    October 7th, 2010 at 9:51 am · Link

    Thank you – not just for the post and the link – which were both awesome, btw – but for reminding me that I still have to do a synopsis. I finished the WIP last night and was all set to start sending out queries. I would’ve kicked myself when I reached the first agent who wants a synopsis, too.

    I guess if I look at this from the positive angle, I can be happy I’m just so excited about this book I almost jumped the gun. =o)

  2. Silver James
    October 7th, 2010 at 11:36 am · Link

    You are singing with the choir, Jen! I think one reason I’m dragging my feet on “fixing” SOTW is because I don’t want to face the synopses I need to do to submit for that one request. So much is riding on this project and I’ve had so many doors closed already.

    Thanks for the pep talk. I need to just do it. I know that. Maybe I can get 50 pages done before the plumber gets here. (I’m also procrastinating because I have no idea how to *fix* the end of it. *sigh*

    Okay. Stiff upper lip and all that rot. :D To work!!!!! (But can I have a couple of Wing Slayers to …I don’t know…rub my neck? Bring me coffee? Something? :twisted: )

  3. Jen Lyon
    October 7th, 2010 at 1:03 pm · Link

    B.E., well that’s a first–someone thanking me for reminding them to do a synopsis. The synopsis is so universally hated! Although I’m hating them a smidge less each time I write one.

    You sound so happy with your book! That’s important. Get the synopsis written and it’s time to submit!

  4. Jen Lyon
    October 7th, 2010 at 1:05 pm · Link

    Silver, that book you’re “procrastinating” on is complex and layered, so I think it’s more that you just need the time to work it out. But you can do it!

    Sure, take all the Wing Slayer Hunters you need, just as long as they’re available when I need them :-) Right now, Ram (glaring at me with his cold blue eyes, not that I’ve noticed) is the pretty busy but the others are up for grabs.

  5. Maureen Child
    October 7th, 2010 at 2:52 pm · Link

    This was an excellent blog, Jen! A favorite quote of mine (and I actually think the person who said it was Vidal Sassoon of all people!), is THE ONLY PLACE SUCCESS COMES BEFORE WORK IS IN THE DICTIONARY.

    So yeah, sometimes you fail. The difference is, if you never try, you ALWAYS fail.

  6. Maureen Child
    October 7th, 2010 at 2:54 pm · Link

    Hah! Just looked up that quote and it seems Vidal stole it from Vince Lombardi!! A man who knew a lot about hard work!

  7. Jenn
    October 7th, 2010 at 3:01 pm · Link

    Maureen, what a great quote! I’m going to have to remember that!

Comments are closed.