Skip navigation

By elycefeliz

As I draft this version of a letter to an agent a writer friend of mine has recommended, my “lizard brain” fear says, “Joann, just who do you think you are! You read great writers. Does that make you one of them? So many wonderful writers have been rejected by agents and publishers. Why are you doing this to yourself?

Then I read the words of a memoir writer I admire, one of the most successful in the world at the moment and take hope. If I don’t believe enough in myself and my writing, I’m rejecting it before the agents and publishers have even had a chance to look at my book for themselves. How unfair – to myself, to them and to the world! Thank you, Elizabeth, for encouraging us fellow writers.

Some Thoughts on Writing (by Elizabeth Gilbert)

“Back around the age of 19, I had started sending my short stories out for publication. My goal was to publish something (anything, anywhere) before I died. I collected only massive piles of rejection notes for years. I cannot explain exactly why I had the confidence to be sending off my short stories at the age of 19 to, say, The New Yorker, or why it did not destroy me when I was inevitably rejected. I sort of figured I’d be rejected. But I also thought: “Hey – somebody has to write all those stories: why not me?” I didn’t love being rejected, but my expectations were low and my patience was high. (Again – the goal was to get published before death. And I was young and healthy.) It has never been easy for me to understand why people work so hard to create something beautiful, but then refuse to share it with anyone, for fear of criticism. Wasn’t that the point of the creation – to communicate something to the world? So PUT IT OUT THERE. Send your work off to editors and agents as much as possible, show it to your neighbors, plaster it on the walls of the bus stops – just don’t sit on your work and suffocate it. At least try. And when the powers-that-be send you back your manuscript (and they will), take a deep breath and try again. I often hear people say, “I’m not good enough yet to be published.” That’s quite possible. Probable, even. All I’m saying is: Let someone else decide that. Magazines, editors, agents – they all employ young people making $22,000 a year whose job it is to read through piles of manuscripts and send you back letters telling you that you aren’t good enough yet: LET THEM DO IT. Don’t pre-reject yourself. That’s their job, not yours. Your job is only to write your heart out, and let destiny take care of the rest.”

See for her website and appearances.



  1. Joann, I love following your journey. I’m so glad your willing to share it with the rest of us. It takes tremendous courage to put yourself “out there” to be either critisized or praised. You are certainly an inspiration when it comes to following your dream. You are willing to let go of the fear to look for those blind spots that you may be holding you back. May I have the same courage to do the same. Go for it!

    • Luella, Thank you so much for the comment. Any courage I have I draw from women like you. A sacred circle of giving and receiving courage one day at a time. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: