blue close up computer computer keyboard

As a nonfiction book author, I don’t know how many times I’ve done exactly that: Write. Revise. Repeat. That’s the moto on my coffee mug–a gift sent to me several years ago.

Sometimes I’ve had to take those actions because of an editor’s comments and suggestions. Or I write and revise because I can see that there’s not a logical transition between paragraphs. Or I just want to delete page after page because the subject matter is boring me and will probably bore the readers I’m hoping to reach.

Write and revise is my first thought when I receive a rejection for a book proposal that had been under serious consideration. No, sorry, my first thought in that situation this morning was “why do this anymore?” Having your words on page after page rejected feels like someone turning her or his back on you or giving you the finger. Of course that’s not the case, and today’s rejection was polite, even complimentary, plus I was addressed as “Dr. Gay”—oh my, I have no idea why I got a degree that I never earned nor aspired to.

Nevertheless, reading my email this morning and finding a rejection of a book proposal is not a great way to start the day. But you have to get going and start again, I told myself. Unexpectedly, I was jogged out of the doldrums when a neighbor came to my door with a bouquet of fragrant gardenias that she grows in her garden. Then a little while later, another neighbor helped me dispose of a huge shipping box (the size of a garbage can) that had held items I’d ordered from Jet. Well, how could I be dejected after the actions of two thoughtful neighbors?

I tried not to break the spell of good spirits and felt revived. I forced myself not to read the news or watch TV. And I convinced myself that I MUST, I have to WRITE. REVISE. REPEAT. That’s who I am. That’s what I do. Now I have to figure out WHAT to write about!


Author: Kathlyn Gay

Author of 120 nonfiction books for young adults and adults, including encyclopedias and other reference titles

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