Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Five Stages of Grief

It's funny how when something bad happens, you always go through the five stages of grief. You can't avoid it, hide from it, or pretend you're doing fine.

I went through all five--denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance--while still under contract, and now I find I'm going through all five again. (now that I have NO contract)

I have always been in touch with my feelings, so I sit here musing on my insanity at letting my publisher go. What the hell was I thinking? Am I crazy? What if no one else wants my book? What if I never get another chance? What if this was it?  (All under the the chapter of denial)

I have all sorts of angry discussions with God, demanding to know the plan, why this had to happen etc . . . . Anger and bargaining. Clearly.

And then finally, depression and acceptance. I'm right back where I started . . . sort of. On the bright side, I have had a whole year of personal editorial training, which was invaluable, and that's a great thing, but I'm back at the bottom of the heap. Back to writing queries, back to looking for agents and publishers etc... Back to sitting for hours and hours, fixing and typing.

I'm not trying to bring anyone down here, just thought it was funny--not funny ha ha--how human emotion works. In time I'll remember that it's the one who never gives up, who crosses the finish line. I'm almost there. It's so close I can taste it . . . I think.


Vegetarian Cannibal said...

You know, there are many writers out there who sell their souls to the publishing companies just to get their book out. The end result? A soulless book, lacking in voice or emotion from the author. You put the book down and say to yourself: "What was the point?!" Anyone can crank out a crappy novel...but is that what YOU want?

You have to stay true to yourself. Getting published is not the end goal for a writer. A writer with no heart is not worth reading anyway. You made the right choice.

This too shall pass, as my great-grandma (now deceased) always used to tell me. :)

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

You're right and your comment made me smile. I do want to be a writer with heart, with a soul. Thank you!

Cheri Chesley said...

We had a similar discussion in AI recently. Someone who had a contract, but was dropped, asked if she should put the fact that she had a contract in her new queries. Someone she had queried (and turned her down) before said absolutely yes. Put it in there. Because it will make editors and agents sit up and take notice. You can do that too. When you're ready to send it out again, let people you query know that someone else wanted it too.

Just thought I'd mention that in case you missed the discussion in AI.And to let you know you're not on the bottom of the pile. You have an edge!

Clarissa Draper said...

I'm really sorry it turned out that way because I'm following the exact same path you did a year ago. I seriously considered self-publishing because then I can make my own rules and decide where I want my books to go. However, I'm heading down this path, hoping it works out well for me.


Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Cheri- how would you write that and not give the impression that you were the one that was difficult or hard to get along with? That's what I worry about--that I signed with a publisher but was too picky to do what they asked. I'd hate for people to think that.

Old Kitty said...

Awwww!!! It's been one amazing year for you - such highs, lows and bright brilliant sides and futures to look forward to!!

You've achieved more than most with your writing - you truly have and that's a wonderful positive!

Hang on in there!!!! You're going to be just fine! Take care

Joanna St. James said...

Trust me you are not at the bottom of the heap you are way above it, you know what you want and you have an edited book just ready to go. There are pub houses that would be glad to have you.

alexia said...

Your work was good enough to get noticed the first time, so you'll definitely find another publisher. One that's a better fit! Hang in there.

Toyin O. said...

Praying for God to comfort you and give you oil of Joy for mourning.

Cheri Chesley said...

It's all in the wording. I think it would take practice, myself, but I know there's a way to do it without sounding like you were difficult. Besides, I don't think you were unreasonable. I think they had a different vision, and I admire you for sticking to your guns!

Ann Best said...

I'm thinking: "This will all give thee experience and be for thy good." As you said, you got a lot of experience with writing and revising this past year. I suggest give yourself some time and space for awhile. Do whatever you like to do to relax. What ifs are deadly. Being down on one's self isn't productive. We all know this. If only it weren't so difficult to pick ourselves up and get going again; keep moving forward. As someone said, you got accepted; you can get accepted again. And I'm one who wouldn't mention in a cover letter about a previous contract. The book has to stand on its own. This is just what I think.

Pk Hrezo said...

It must feel frustrating but you've gotten much further than most. You know your writing is worth while... I don't blame you for standing up for what you believe to be right. That makes you true to yourself. It's like that feeling of walking out of an office job at a huge corporation to open up your own much smaller business. That feeling of being in control to make your own choices, and that's a liberating place to be.

I wish you the best... Don't give up!

covnitkepr1 said...

MC...thanks for the visit and the follow.I'm returning the favor.

One thing is for sure...God is perfect and His will for your life will be based on that perfection. Just wait on the Lord and see.

KarenG said...

Yesterday at the airport I saw one of those returning missionaries without a name tag being picked up alone with no hugs. You know the ones? They come home early from their mission for whatever reason. Still really great guys but the bar was raised and they didn't make the distance. But I think it's sad for people to think it's a failure. It's not. They went, they served, they had some problems, it didn't work out for the whole 2 years. It's still worthy of recognition and if it were my son, I'd still be very proud of him. This is what I thought of as I read your post. That you got really really far. When I met with you a year ago at the LUW conference, I saw a winner. I saw someone who is going places. And you will. It will happen. But I agree with Ann. I wouldn't mention it in a query letter. It raises too many questions and that's the last thing you want to do. Rock on, you'll get past these stages and achieve victory!

Dorothy Adamek said...

Sounds like you've been on a bit of an adventure! I'll be following for the next chapter :)
Lovely to meet you

LTM said...

oh, hang in there! It's been tough, but you'll make it through and your MS will be better than ever~ :o)

Diony said...

Melissa, thanks for your comments the other day on my blog. Sorry to hear about things not working out with your publisher. Your feelings are so totally understood.
Keep focusing on your goal and remember none of these experiences you're having along the path to getting published, good or bad, will be wasted.

Kittie Howard said...

Melissa, I feel for you. I didn't get quite as far as you did, but close, some years ago, and bailed out because there was some abstract something too slippery, a road that I didn't want to travel. Making concessions to move a story along, well, that's subjective and open to editorial compromise - to a point. Making compromises with yourself to get published, I don't think that's worth it.

You did the right thing. Don't second guess yourself.

Remember, if one publisher saw something in you, others will. Submit elsewhere. Please don't give up on your book or yourself!!

Lloyd said...

I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I would like to invite you to come on over to my blog and check it out. God's blessings. Lloyd

------------------------- said...

I am an author of a book but nothing to boast about. It was self published. Nothing great at all. I just wanted to get my story out to whoever may be interested.

So I sort of understand how you must feel about your book. I wish you the best in however God may lead you with your book.

If you have time come visit my blogs.

And this is my book:


Suzy Turner said...

You're certainly not crazy. You left the publisher for a REASON and it was clearly an important reason. You've done it with your head held high. You're still a writer and that's what's important.
This, by the way, is a super blog. I've given it a 'blog award' over on my blog... perhaps if you have a minute, you'd like to check it out.
Best wishes

Michele Emrath said...

But those stages are healthy...So you're on the right track! I'm sorry for the loss of contract, but hopefully another (and better) one is right around the corner, or two corners, but some corner!

Thanks for coming by my blog, SouthernCityMysteries, and following!


Love Bible Quotes and Sayings said...

Hey, this is Rajib. Came to your blog for the first time and thought to say hello. I wish you all the best for your writing and success in your endeavour.

Amber Argyle said...

I went through this. I had a publishing contract. Turned it down. Had an agent. Broke it up after a year. It was pure hell.

I almost gave up so many times. I have a contract now. If they pulled out, I'll probably be bald from pulling out all my hair.

Hang in there. If you need to talk about it, facebook me. I'll help you if I can.

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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