The Postscript


Picture of Carrie Classon

Carrie Classon

March 20, 2024

I had a discouraging day yesterday.

I don’t expect anyone to keep track – heck, I can’t keep track half the time. But I got another rejection of my book from another editor with another publishing house.

I’ve read the stories of how long it has taken well-known authors to sell their first novel. A publisher has to put a lot of money into a new book, and the odds are slim that a writer’s first book will ever earn that money back. Publishers know this and so they are understandably cautious.

You would think I would be used to rejection by now. Before I was even able to have my book read by publishers, I had to find an agent, and they are swamped with letters from writers who want the same thing I do – to see their book out in the world.

Now that I have my wonderful agent, Annie, she is putting a lot of time into editing and working to sell my book, and she makes no money at all until the book sells. It is a long process. Everything takes months and months, and in the meantime, I keep writing, because that is the only part of the process I have any control over at all.

So, when I got an “update” from Annie yesterday, I knew from the subject line of the email it would not be good news. The note read:

“Hi Annie,

Thank you for the opportunity to read Carrie’s work. She is a talented writer, and I love the premise for this, but I didn’t connect with the characters quite as strongly as I’d hoped. It is with regret that I am a pass, but I hope you land the perfect home for this (or perhaps already have!).”

I added this rejection to a file I keep with the previous rejection letters. Sometimes I read the comments later and, generally, I don’t get too discouraged. But yesterday I did.

I was grumpy, and I felt more than a little sorry for myself. So I took a day off. Instead of writing, I went for a long walk.

And, as I was walking, I suddenly thought of my best friend who died seven years ago. She was only 50 years old when she died, and I never met a person who was more alive. I thought of how she would chew me out for wasting even part of one day feeling sorry for myself.

“Take a teaspoon of cement, Princess, and harden up!” she would have said.

She was very good about saying things like that, whenever I complained that what I was doing was too difficult. I missed her no-nonsense advice, her never-ending encouragement.

“I sure could use you now,” I thought.

And at that moment, I realized I had lost sight of a really important thing. Of course, I write because it makes me happy. But the reason writing makes me happy is because I think the stuff I write might be useful.

Maybe my writing will make somebody smile. Maybe someone will feel less alone. Maybe it will be used to line the bottom of a birdcage. But whatever happens, I’m hoping it will be useful in some small way.

It’s not really about me. Or, as my beloved friend would say when I got too full of myself, “Buy some lumber, build a bridge, and get over yourself!”

She was good at that, as I mentioned. She was good at reminding me of what matters and, seven years later, she is still so very useful.

Till next time,


Carrie Classon

is a nationally syndicated columnist, author, and performer. She champions the idea that it is never too late to reinvent oneself in unexpected and fulfilling ways. Learn more about Carrie and her memoir, “Blue Yarn,” at