Friday, March 14, 2014

Handling Disappointment

by Steve Laube

I don't like to experience disappointment.
I do not like to experience disappointment. I do not like rejection, even when it isn’t my personal project being turned down. I do not like to be the bearer of bad news.
And yet I do experience disappointment, rejection, and the telling of bad news…every week. That is the nature of the arts.
The arts (meaning music, writing, dance, and painting) is comprised of thousands of hours of practice; long days of solitude; truckloads of self-doubt; in a world where everyone is a critic.
However, I am inspired by the recitation of the failures of Abraham Lincoln during the 26 years BEFORE he was elected President of the United States. During those 26 years he:
Lost his job.
Defeated for state legislature.
Failed in business.
Sweetheart died.
Had nervous breakdown.
Defeated for Speaker.
Defeated for nomination for Congress.
Lost renomination.
Rejected for land officer.
Defeated for U.S. Senate.
Defeated for nomination for Vice President.
Again defeated for U.S. Senate.
There are a lot of what-ifs in publishing.
I find that list invigorating. Twenty-six years ago I was a young bookstore manager and our youngest child had not yet been born. In these ensuing years I experienced many disappointments and failures and yet God has blessed our family in so many ways (and our oldest was married just two weekends ago).
If you get slapped with a rejection letter today.
[“Woe is me! For the Lord has added sorrow to my pain. I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest.” Jeremiah 45:3]
If you are told by your agent that your latest proposal is flat and needs work.
[“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15]
If your editor goes on a rampage and takes a machete to your manuscript.
["We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character . . .” Romans 5:3-4]
If your self-talk begins shouting the word “Loser” in a shrill voice.
["As I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless . . . like chasing the wind" Ecclesiastes 2:11].
If any of these things hit you, remember:
“Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
Steve Laube, a literary agent and president of The Steve Laube Agency, has been in the book industry for over 31 years, first as a bookstore manager where he was awarded the National Store of the Year by CBA. He then spent over a decade with Bethany House Publishers and was named the Editor of the Year in 2002. He later became an agent and has represented over 700 new books and was named Agent of the Year by ACFW. His office is in Phoenix, Arizona. 


Linda said...

Thank you for such wise, encouraging words. I'm trying to brace myself. I just gave the first draft of my very first book to an editor. Your words are timely.