M. Heitkemper

M. Heitkemper

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Inspirational Rejection

Someone asked me the other day, “Why did you change the name of your blog?”  The answer’s simple really, I just remembered why I started writing in the first place.  It’s just as the name of this blog implies, I write what I want!

In a recent interview, I mentioned a box that I keep in my closet that is full of rejection letters from publishers and agents that I’ve collected over my years of writing and submitting.  Yeah, there’s a lot of them.  That’s back before everything was done through email.  Fresh on my mind after the interview, I decided to pull that box out and have a look at a few of them for nostalgia sake.  Pretty much laying on top of the stack, was a letter I remember quite vividly.  It was a rejection letter from an agent (I’ll keep the name of the agent to myself) who simply replied: “Your books just aren’t mainstream enough, sorry.”  Now before you go assuming that I was submitting to the Jerry Maguire of Literary agents, I can assure you that I was thinking small back then.  I was a little nervous and overwhelmed with the idea of getting an agent in the first place.  This guy was a member of a smaller agency that represented a lot of what I’ll refer to as “rip-off” material of more popular books.  No disrespect to the authors that he represented by the way. 

I wasn't angry about the rejection, after all, it wasn't like it was my first.  In fact, of all the reasons in the world to reject one of my books, this was one of the most inspirational.  Yeah, you read that right, INSPIRATIONAL.  Why would I want to write something mainstream?  Why would I want to write about what everyone else is writing about?  I want to be different.  I want to write things that I know; things that gel well in my mind.  I get it, little boy witches and shimmery vampires is what people were paying for at the time, but when I started writing it really wasn’t about making a lot of money.  My great-grandmother was a writer, and she had assured me that there usually wasn’t much money in it from the start.  No, I was writing because I liked to.  I had an idea that flew into my head one day while I was walking out of a store, and I thought: damn, that would make a great book!  And so it was.  I grabbed a notebook and wrote every single page of it by hand in the next few months (didn’t have a computer at the time.)  I didn’t have a lot of time to write back then, but any chance that I could, I was scribbling away.  It was something I needed to do everyday, and I could do it very easily.  I may not have been the best writer, or any kind of writing prodigy of course, but I figured that I would improve with every word I wrote.  I think that I have.  

Maybe I'm just doing like they say; Something about making lemonade from lemons or what have you...  Anyway, it doesn't matter.  I was writing for me back then.  I was writing what I wanted to write, and I still do.  So don’t forget, I Write What I Want!  It doesn’t mean that you won’t like it, but if you do, chances are we have something in common.  See you next time!  Happy 4th everyone!

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