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Every ‘No’ Not A Roadblock


The R-word just won’t go away. I’m talking about rejection. Writers know it well.

As an independent author, rejection is just a painful part of the game. I didn’t mail my manuscript to a hundreds of publishers like other authors, but I did mail it to several over the years. And, well, you know the rest.

However, my story is a little different because I finally got a “nice” rejection from a major publisher. And when I say nice I just mean the editor liked my book, but those with the decision-making power did not. The one who liked my book encouraged me to keep writing. So that’s what I did. I took my bruised ego and hurt feelings and decided that I had enough encouragement to find another way to get published.

I surmise many of us who opt for partner-publishing or self-publishing decide the same thing. We just don’t have the patience, interest or heart to sit around and wait to be discovered. But somehow we find the money, time and determination to get it done.

Now that my novel, “The Second First Lady,” is out, the R-word is still an issue. I made a call recently and it wasn’t exactly a rejection, but it was an honest “call us back in a few months.” Yet it felt like the R-word at work.

Just because you finally have your book in hand doesn’t mean rejection will leave you alone. It’s challenging to get press coverage. It’s tough to get people to buy your book. And if you’ve ever sat at one of those vendor tables as people walk by, you know what I’m talking about.

Sometimes it’s tough to be taken seriously.

But I’ve decided to face the R-word head-on, not run from it. I tell my kids that life isn’t fair and rejection happens. I tell them they have to tough it out sometimes and do whatever it takes to get what they want. So I’m taking my own advice and putting on my game face, doing what I have to do to get what I really want.

My stories – and your stories – are just as amazing and engaging as those who have the big publishers behind them. The world just doesn’t know it yet.

So, c’mon Mr. R. Give me what you got. I’m ready.




Vanessa W. Snyder is a writer, National Board-certified teacher and mother of two daughters in Washington, D.C. The author of a new novel, “The Second First Lady,” and co-author of titles in the “50 Ways to Christ” series, she can be reached at vanessa@blackdoorventures.com.

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Get On A Roll By Slowing Your Roll


Don’t you just love saying and hearing it?

It’s such a wonderful word but not always easy for writers to find.

Admittedly, I’ve never truly had writer’s block.  (I’ve had a few cases of lazy block but that’s another blog). I love to write so much I can almost always come up with something to say.

But today I’m thinking about what inspires me and maybe what inspires me will inspire you –to write.

Lately, I’m feeling pretty inspired. I think the reason is because I’ve decided to slow down a bit so I can see, think and absorb the intricacies of my life and those around me. When I’m not moving too fast I can hear what my kids are saying and I can see who they really are. In fact, I learn a lot about myself by watching my kids.  A good friend of mine, Kimberly Parker has created several books from listening to her kids.

And I’m not just watching my kids. I’m watching and listening to the kids I teach. Good educators should do that anyway. If we don’t hear and see them, I don’t think we can truly teach them. The teens I interact with are full of stories, experiences and insights to feed my never ending writing appetite.

As a wife, there’s plenty to hear when my husband speaks. I think that’s why I decided to make the main character in my novel a male. Somehow I got inside the male mind and created a character. I’ve gathered so much from listening to my husband of 20 years — and my father, brothers, cousins and friends.

Then there are the people I interact with daily. These interactions may be fleeting. Others might be significant. When I take the time to engage with people I learn so much. These interactions somehow find their way into my characters and plots. In my creative mind I can embellish and twist these moments into stories that will move and inspire others. But they wouldn’t be there if I wasn’t slowing down enough to hear.  Characters really do summon you. While writing The Second First Lady, I couldn’t take a break because my characters wouldn’t let me.

Need inspiration?

Slow down. Look. Hear. Listen.  Write.

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Making my 'Write' Affirmations

Hopefully, it’s not too late for me to make my writing affirmations for the year. I’m purposely not calling them resolutions because I want something “affirming.” So much of writing begins with your state of mind (see my previous 2 most recent blogs)

I’ve decided to keep it simple.

        Here goes:

1.      I will write consistently, whether it’s journaling, blogging or novel writing

2.      I will read about writing so I can get better. One good source: Better English 101

3.      I will “commune” with other writers.

4.      I will write my ideas down so I don’t forget them.

5.      I will look for new places to showcase my writing.

6.      I will be a prolific writer.

7.      I will copyright my work.

8.      I will be encouraged by the writers who are already successful.

9.      I will not be discouraged by those who reject my writing.

10.  I will believe in the uniqueness of the writing gift God has given me.


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Get the Write Focus

Every day I’m reminding someone in my life to focus. If it’s not my children or my students, then it’s my husband.

When it comes to writing, we have to find a way to focus on the writing we want to produce. But in reality, “focus” can be challenging,especially when your days and nights are full. The distractions arereal and unavoidable, but so is your desire and passion for writing.

As I reflect on my journey in completing “The Second First Lady,” I somehow found my focus.  So here are some tips that I hope will help you:

*Don’t stress yourself out by trying to write for the same number of hours every day. Do what works for your schedule.

*Find a friend who will hold you accountable for writing consistently.

*Share your writing with a friend who is willing to listen. Talk about the characters and where the story is headed.

*Go to a writing conference or start a writing group so you can network and get feedback from  other writers.

*Read author websites and join their mailing lists.

*Make a positive affirmation everyday about your writing.

*Read an article or book that will help you improve your craft.

As simple as these tips may seem, they contribute to the focus you need to become a writer who actually… writes.


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