I've talked to several writing friends lately who have been discouraged, some to the point of giving up, with all the feedback flooding in from different directions. It's so easy to get discouraged when you are pursuing a publishing dream. Contests, editors, critique partners...everyone has an opinion of what your work should look like. Craft books can help, and they can hinder as well. One of my friends had an agent tell her to "rewrite" the book with specific guidelines. Another had an agent tell her to change her book so it was a "thriller."
So what happens if you want to be published so bad that you actually try to please an agent? By the time you rewrite it, their window of opportunity for selling the book "they had envisioned" has passed. So they pass on your rewrite. What now?
It is so easy to get sucked into the whirlpool and find yourself not knowing what to do. So self doubt creeps in and you find yourself never writing a word. Trust me, if this happens, you've lost your voice. Back away from all of that. Think about why you began to write in the first place. If the passion to tell a story in your own words is still there, then forget all the negativity. It's hard not to take it personally, especially when you've beed rejected over and over again, but shove everything aside and start writing. Get your spark back. In doing so, you'll find your voice again, and don't let anyone try to change that.
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