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On Sending Out Proposals,
And Standing Up Naked

by Mitchel Whitington

The great actress Rosalind Russell, speaking about her craft of acting, once said, "Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly." Somehow, I have to think that she had the soul of a writer - because that's how it feels to bear your heart and soul on paper, and then send it out to a perfect stranger at a publishing house or agency.

It takes so much courage to do that. We joke about it at conferences, and laugh bravely among our writer friends. But when we're all alone, the house is quiet, and it's time to print off a manuscript to seal in a envelope, we all find that it is an incredibly hard task.

After all, what if the person who receives it doesn't like the manuscript? Worse than that, though, what if they don't like it, yet choose to simply sit on it for six weeks? Or what if they never get back to you at all, leaving you to wring your hands with anguish, struggling with whether or not to contact them in a follow up letter? It is a process that can be maddening!

Not to mention our friends and family. Who among us hasn't had someone ask, "So what are you working on?" We'll hem and haw around, being purposefully vague, but may finally print off a few pages. We hand to them with a load of apprehension, and the caveat, "Now, it really hasn't been editied yet!" As we watch them read each page, we're looking for every twitch of an eye, every furrow of a brow. Rest assured, it's the same for each and every one of us.

So take comfort, fellow writer - we all feel that way. We're all scared to bare our souls so completely, and deep inside us all, we're afraid to set ourselves up for rejection. It's something that each one of us struggles with, so please don't feel alone. As you send off the manuscripts again and again, your skin will get thicker, and you will realize that only by collecting rejections can you finally climb the ladder to success. Again - please, please, don't feel alone. We all have that trepidation, that hesitation... as if we were climbing up onto a pedistal, standing up there naked, and turning around very slowly.

2005 Mitchel Whitington

About the Author

Mitchel Whitington is an author and speaker - visit Mitchel's website at

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