I am an optimist. No, really, I am. “But you run your subs down ALL the time!” I hear my CPs shout. It’s true, I do that. But that’s just a cunning front. Because deep inside, I am an honest to God, genuine, over-the-top optimist. And not in a ‘I think my sub isn’t too bad and perhaps I might get a request for more this time’ way. In a ‘OMG, what if the editor loves this SO MUCH she calls me before she’s even finished the first page and offers me a million dollar contract right there and then???’ way.
It’s giant pain in the butt. Every single time I send out a sub or enter a contest, this little piping voice is going “Hey hey hey! What if…???” And no matter how I try to ignore it, some part of me is nodding and thinking, ‘yeah…wouldn’t that be awesome?’ So when I actually get the ‘This submission is so bad, my dog could write it better than you’* letter it is GUTTING. Because although I tell myself it’s fine, deep down I’m envisaging movie rights and Angelina Jolie in the title role. It sucks and so I have to stomp on this little voice because all the things its telling me are Never. Going. To. Happen.
However, the problem with this is that then you start sounding negative about everything due to the fact that you’re constantly talking yourself down. And you don’t really want to be doing that either. So what can you do about it? How to deal with the disappointment?
Well, I have taken the liberty of compiling a little list (warning, use at your own risk):
1. Knock your head repeatedly against a wall until a) the voice shuts up or b) you knock yourself unconscious.
2. Compromise. If it will stop telling you the editors are SO going to ring you at 3am to tell you how much they love it and are going to publish it RIGHT NOW, then you’ll stop trying to tell it that in fact the editors will be sending YOU a request letter requesting that you never submit to them again.
3. Let it have its fun. Listen to its siren songs. Then go off and have as martinis as you need to forget you ever listened to it in the first place.
4. Stick your fingers in your ears, sing ‘lalalala’ loudly until you can’t hear it anymore.
5. Book yourself into a nice little hospital for a nice little ‘rest’.
6. Give into it. Believe everything it says. Then write rejection letters to publishers rejecting their rejections.
7. Pack it up in a box labelled ‘Satan’, push it to the back of your mind, and get lost in writing your next book.
Okay, so is this sounding as mad as I think it does? Or does anyone else out there have OTT Optimists that need settling down too?
*Not an actual quote from an actual rejection in case you were wondering.