Rejecting the Rejection

 

Back in the days when one used to query literary agents by way of the U.S. Postal Service, I used to go to great lengths to ease the blow of rejection letters. In those times, not so long ago, with every query letter you were supposed to include a SASE: Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope. This increased the chances of getting a response, usually a softly worded generic letter letting you know that your material was not right for that particular agent at this time.

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Even though those form rejections had clearly been photocopied a thousand times, I never could resist the urge to search for meaning in those blanket-rejection forms, looking for some reason why my writing wasn’t good enough.

In an effort to combat this, I devised something new: a self-addressed stamped post-card with three checkboxes: ___ Send Sample Chapters, ___ Send Full-Manuscript, ___ Not Right for Us at this Time.  This way there would be no agonizing interpretations of meaningless rejection prose. It was all business.

However, after enough of these little cards came back, it didn’t take long for even the sight of one in the mailbox to cause the feeling that a mule had driven its hind legs simultaneously into my gut. Or worse, a sense that I had been lanced through the heart by forge-hot steel.

It took many years to put rejection letters into perspective. A rejection letter is not saying that your writing is not good enough. It is not saying that you are not good enough. It is only saying that this particular agent isn’t the path to your success.  The path is out there, this just isn’t the way.  Keep looking.

There is a narrow little trail wending its way through the trees, waiting for you to discover it. It exists. You just have to to find it.

This blog entry was originally published for Author Magazine‘s Author Blog.

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Brian Mercer is the author of the supernatural YA novel, Aftersight (Astraea Press, 2013). He is also co-author with Robert Bruce of Mastering Astral Projection: 90-Day Guide to Out-of-body (Llewellyn, 2004) and The Mastering Astral Projection CD Companion (Llewellyn, 2007). A board member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and senior editor at Author Magazine, he lives in Seattle with his wife, Sara, and their three cats.

 URL: www.brianmercerbooks.com

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The Unfolding

I learned about The Law of Attraction in college from listening to motivational speakers like Brian Tracy and Denis Waitely, reading Master of Life magazine, and taking meditation classes, and I’ve always taken time to write down, visualize and feel the life that I want to create.

I’ve been doing this for more than twenty-five years now and in that time I’ve experienced some startling, this-can’t-be-a-coincidence successes. Some things have manifested in a matter of minutes, others have taken years. They do unfold, though not always in ways that I expect. Okay, very rarely in ways that I expect.

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Last Wednesday, downtown Seattle traffic was gridlocked when I made my way to the bus.  The crowd in front of Macy’s where I catch my bus was thicker than usual, so it wasn’t surprising when I didn’t get a seat.

My bus, Bus 5, is one of those long, double-coaches, a “bendy bus,” as they say in England. At first I stood in the front coach, hands full, headphones on, listening to an audio book and trying to keep my feet as we headed up Third Avenue.

As more and more passengers entered the bus, I was forced to move back and back, eventually making my way to the rear coach. There I spotted a guy I used to work with, a guy who had left the company a couple of years ago. I wanted to say hi, but my hands were full, my headphones on, and I felt awkward having a reunion on this crowded bus.

He didn’t notice me as I stood next to his seat, engrossed as he was in a book on his Kindle. When I looked down at what he was reading, I noticed a familiar name, then a second, then a third. These were my characters. He was reading my novel.

How many times have I imagined a scenario like this, though it had always been on a plane, and the person sitting next to me a stranger. In my imaginings the book had been a book, not an eReader, and it had been the cover I recognized, not the actual writing, but it was the same moment. I’d visualized it enough to recognize it when it happened.

Okay, yes, it would have been cooler if it hadn’t been someone I’d known, though it’s unlikely that if he had been a stranger that I would have looked down to see what he was reading. I like to think  that a moment like that with a stranger is coming, too. In the meantime, I’m going to put this moment in the W column.

Keep visualizing. The life you want is out there, even if it hasn’t yet manifested in real-time three-dimensional reality yet.  It’s coming.

This blog entry was originally published for Author Magazine‘s Author Blog.

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Brian Mercer is the author of the supernatural YA novel, Aftersight (Astraea Press, 2013). He is also co-author with Robert Bruce of Mastering Astral Projection: 90-Day Guide to Out-of-body (Llewellyn, 2004) and The Mastering Astral Projection CD Companion (Llewellyn, 2007). A board member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and senior editor at Author Magazine, he lives in Seattle with his wife, Sara, and their three cats.

 URL: www.brianmercerbooks.com

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Going the Distance

Even back in college, when I started my first novel-length project, I was visualizing for success. Back then I liked to visualize to inspiring music. One of my favorites was a song called “Going the Distance” from the Rocky soundtrack. The sense of triumph at the song’s climax never failed to get my adrenaline going and I felt that the sense of visceral emotion would combine with the mental movie I was playing in my mind to make what I was imagining a reality.

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If you know the song, it starts off with a sense of struggle, like the dark moment in a story before the climactic success. So, being a writer, I tried to create my mental movie to match the music. In my mind’s eye, I saw me typing away at my computer day after day, superimposed with the image of pages and pages of written material rolling out of my dot matrix printer.

This happened a long time ago, if you haven’t already guessed.

These mental pictures were juxtaposed with me going to the mailbox day after day and getting rejection letters from agents. This went on until the music bursts into a sense of triumph, one minute and thirty-one seconds into the piece. This is where I imagined the moment I get the acceptance letter and I begin jumping up and down in my front hallway, adrenaline pumping through me at the emotion of my success.

It only occurred to me years later as those rejection letters came in, one after the next, that I had manifested just what I had visualized. Eventually, the triumph I had mentally mapped out did happen, several novels later, and the sense of triumph I felt was much the same as I imagined. (Although I didn’t actually jump up and down. I was in a shopping mall when the call came in.)

I’m not saying that I wouldn’t have received those rejection letters had I not visualized them, but maybe I wouldn’t have received as many as I did. There is no way to know. However, I’d advise you, when you are visualizing for you own success, maybe don’t put any struggle in there, even if it does “fit with the music.”

This blog entry was originally published for Author Magazine‘s Author Blog.

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Brian Mercer is the author of the supernatural YA novel, Aftersight (Astraea Press, 2013). He is also co-author with Robert Bruce of Mastering Astral Projection: 90-Day Guide to Out-of-body (Llewellyn, 2004) and The Mastering Astral Projection CD Companion (Llewellyn, 2007). A board member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and senior editor at Author Magazine, he lives in Seattle with his wife, Sara, and their three cats.

 URL: www.brianmercerbooks.com

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Manifesting without Effort

 In past posts I’ve written about manifesting the things and experiences you want through affirmations and visualizations, by remaining positive and feeling good. But the simple truth is that it doesn’t take listening to positive affirmations to attract that dream job you’ve always wanted. It doesn’t take ritual morning visualizations to manifest that completed novel you’ve been promising yourself you’d finish. Manifesting can be as easy as setting an intention, putting it out there in The Universe, then getting out of the way and trusting that it’s going to come to you.

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I have the privilege of sitting on the board of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. Every year at the PNWA summer writers conference, I’ve met extraordinary new people and have mind-blowing experiences. What’s more, every year they get increasingly better. After the three-day conference is over, it often takes me several days to decompress from such a high-energy event.

As conference time rolled around this year, I wasn’t feeling the magic. Between traveling and major house renovations, I’d had no downtime for a solid two months. The thought of mustering enthusiasm for the three-day conference was starting to mess with my chi. All I wanted was an afternoon to sit around and read books, maybe have a solid satisfying writing session where I could spend a whole morning just creating. On the eve of the conference, I was starting to feel almost depressed and recognized that I would not, in this state of mind, manifest anything all that great.

As it happened, turning it around was simply a matter of deciding that something wonderful was going to happen and trusting that it was going to come. I don’t know how,  I thought, I don’t know when, but it’s coming. In truth, there wasn’t a lot of high-energy enthusiasm behind it. It was just a matter of deciding it was going to happen and trusting.

Thursday, the first day of the conference, began slowly. It was enjoyable, but nothing out of the ordinary occurred. As I turned in at the end of the day I only nodded pensively. I don’t know when, I thought, I don’t know how, but it’s coming.

Things began to get moving the next day. I had a blast moderating a panel with author Megan Chance on writing historical fiction. That night at dinner, through a series of unforeseen circumstances, I had the opportunity to sit by author Deb Caletti at dinner and have a profound conversation with her.

By Saturday, the last day of the conference, I was in The Zone. I moderated a panel that included my agent, Kathleen Rushall; moderated another on writing structure with Terry Persun; and moderated a third with Author Magazine’s Bill Kenower in which he interviewed authors Robert Dugoni and Deb Caletti. Perhaps the most amazing thing took place at the end of the day when, as a result of a last-minute illness, I filled in for a panel member as a speaker along with two literary agents and another author. The high-energy talk that followed was one of those sessions where everything goes right.

What is it you want to manifest? Don’t make it difficult.  Simply set your intention, put it out there in The Universe, and let it come to you.

This blog entry was originally published for Author Magazine‘s Author Blog.

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Brian Mercer is the author of the supernatural YA novel, Aftersight (Astraea Press, 2013). He is also co-author with Robert Bruce of Mastering Astral Projection: 90-Day Guide to Out-of-body (Llewellyn, 2004) and The Mastering Astral Projection CD Companion (Llewellyn, 2007). A board member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and senior editor at Author Magazine, he lives in Seattle with his wife, Sara, and their three cats.

 URL: www.brianmercerbooks.com

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Staying Positive and Feeling Good

AffirmationsSo, if the goal is maintaining positive thoughts and feelings, just how does one go about doing that? I’ve employed several techniques that are proving quite effective. One of them stands out above the rest.

Positive Affirmations

Let’s face it, affirmations can be a pain in the ass. I’m not talking about writing them. That’s the easy part: Keep them positive, first-person, present-tense. No, it’s the reciting of them daily that takes time and energy and seldom have I had any luck using them for a consistent, sustained period of time. Until now.

Previously, I’ve tried techniques like reciting them over and over, but then I have to keep them physically written down nearby. I’ve tried memorizing them, but that cuts down on the number of affirmations I can remember. Then there’s finding private time to recite them. Alone time is preferable, lest you sound like a crazy person muttering to yourself.

I’ve also experimented with writing down affirmations over and over again, a la Bart Simpson on the chalkboard, but this, too, is time-consuming and limits the number of affirmations I can use, to mention nothing of hand cramps.

The most effective way I’ve found to employ affirmations is to record them, which is pretty simple these days with all the computer, tablet and phone gadgets that allow for recording. This means I can listen to a good couple of dozen affirmations several times a day, very quickly, without needing anything more than my smart phone or computer nearby.

I’ve mixed my affirmations with dramatic music, which I find heightens the effect and allows me to feel the intent behind the affirmations more than if I was just hearing my voice. I have two separate sound tracks that I use, with the affirmations recited in a different order, to keep things fresh.

For the morning affirmations I use tracks from the movie Tron Legacy, which if you’ve ever heard it has this driving, insistent techno-beat that suggests we really are all in The Matrix and that, yes, focusing your thoughts positively can actually affect The Matrix.

My evening tracks are from the movie Somewhere In Time, from the scenes in which protagonist Richard Collier is trying to hypnotize himself back in time to the year 1912. If you know that scene, you’ll realize that what he’s done is record and playback affirmations for himself.

My affirmations take twelve to fourteen minutes to play. I listen to them while walking to and from my bus to the office, which allows me to repeat internally what I’m hearing and really feel the power of what I’m saying.

How have they worked so far? I credit them for remembering to keep mindful of my thoughts, to realize throughout the day how vitally important staying positive and feeling good is. They are a mental cue that I really can let go of negativity and redirect my awareness toward something positive. They remind me to trust, to focus on the right frequency and let The Universe take care of the rest.

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Brian Mercer is the author of the supernatural YA novel, Aftersight (Astraea Press, 2013). He is also co-author with Robert Bruce of Mastering Astral Projection: 90-Day Guide to Out-of-body (Llewellyn, 2004) and The Mastering Astral Projection CD Companion (Llewellyn, 2007). A board member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and senior editor at Author Magazine, he lives in Seattle with his wife, Sara, and their three cats.

 URL: www.brianmercerbooks.com

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Minding the First Creation

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I’ve never been one for new year’s resolutions, but I’ve always been a goal setter. Since college I’ve written them down. And, as a new calendar year begins, I like to take the time to reflect on where I’m headed and what I would like to manifest.

In the past, I’ve always focused on accomplishments and tangible acquisitions, the idea being that that shiny new computer, seeing my books published, would lead to happiness, fulfillment, and self-actualization. I’ve been reasonably successful in manifesting the things I’ve set out to achieve, but it occurs to me that I’ve been going about things backwards.

I’ve been hearing about the Law of Attraction since the mid-1980s, the idea that how you think and feel attracts the people and events in your life. Since college I’ve been consciously using the Law of Attraction to bring into my life the things I’ve wanted to have and experience, but it was only with Rhona Byrne’s The Secret (when the Law of Attraction got a good PR person) did I start to think bigger.

Yet even then, while many things manifested with uncanny speed and accuracy, there were a few goals that remained elusively out of reach. Was fear holding me back? A sense that I am unworthy? A preconceived notion that these things were difficult and took a lot of effort? Maybe all three.

This year I decided that, rather than spending my energy pursuing specific goals and aspirations, I am going to focus my energy minding how I think and feel. “Master that and everything,” says Teal Scott, author of Sculptor in the Sky, “EVERYTHING falls into place.” If thoughts are the first creation, as Stephen Covey suggests, then mastering them should effect everything that follows.

At first glance, the idea of controlling your thoughts — staying positive, feeling good, harmonizing with the frequency of things you want to attract — seems like a tall order. Oh, maybe it’s fine for an afternoon. A day or so. But what about long term? To always feel happy? To always think positively? Isn’t that next to impossible?

Maybe. Or maybe that is just a belief. What if it isn’t that difficult with a little concentrated focus?

So this year I mean to do just that. Through a combination of affirmations, meditation, and just plain thought awareness, I am going to focus on positive thoughts and feelings, and trust that The Universe will reflect back that energy. I’ll be documenting the results of my efforts here.

What methods have worked for you in controlling how you think and feel? I’d love to hear your suggestions.

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Brian Mercer is the author of the supernatural YA novel, Aftersight (Astraea Press, 2013). He is also co-author with Robert Bruce of Mastering Astral Projection: 90-Day Guide to Out-of-body (Llewellyn, 2004) and The Mastering Astral Projection CD Companion (Llewellyn, 2007). A board member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and senior editor at Author Magazine, he lives in Seattle with his wife, Sara, and their three cats.

 URL: www.brianmercerbooks.com

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