Writing Means Failing A Lot

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I am really starting to understand why the word “persistence” comes up so often when writers talk about what it takes to be successful. While decluttering my writing space and organizing files on my hard drive, I faced the eye-opening reality that I’ve been at this writing thing for ten years, (at least in the quasi-professional sense). Ten years. And I don’t have a lot to show for it other than a few teeny tiny publishing credits.

My journals and files say otherwise. I’ve written two novels, more poems than I can count (there are about 1,000 haikus alone), and more than 1,000 blog posts (this one blows my mind the most!). Writing is the easy part. Finding an audience is a little tougher. Getting published feels almost impossible.

My rejection folder is enormous. I have an interesting relationship with this stack of rejection. On one hand, it’s hard not to take it personally. It is after all one agent after another telling me they aren’t interested in what I poured my heart into. On the other, it’s nothing personal. We all have opinions about what we like to read. My only saving grace is that I’ve never had an literary agent tell me my writing sucks and that I should just give up. I know writers get this sometimes and so far I’ve been lucky. It’s just frustrating on so many levels that I can’t seem to break through the barriers.

The soul crushing truth is writing means failing a lot. Not only in the ridiculous number of failed drafts, but in the process as a whole.

Yet, I persist. I’m too stubborn to let the failure win.

I took a little break from the query process to regroup after the last batch of rejections, (30 rejections hit pretty hard). Then, last month I took a writing workshop on query letters and the synopsis. While much of the information wasn’t anything new to me, I still walked away with a renewed sense of purpose. It’s amazing what being among writers in the same situation can do!

This week I sent off a brand new volley of query packages. I must be a glutton for punishment. Most writers seem to be, so I’m in good company. As a matter of fact, I already got my first rejection from this batch. It was pretty swift and painful, but not unexpected.

I’m bracing myself for more to come, but I keep reminding myself I only need one yes. All the no’s don’t matter, it’s the yes I’m after.

Persistence is key.

– – –

c.b.w. 2017

 

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10 thoughts on “Writing Means Failing A Lot

  1. I think persistence is your middle name. You will make it. I have complete faith, for what that’s worth. And don’t forget, you did all that with a full-time job and other life conflicts. You deserve a huge pat on the back.

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  2. I completely understand how you feel. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, and I only have a handful of “successes” to talk about. In addition to persistence, I think it also helps that we do it because we love it. For me, it’s always been a hobby first and the potential for something more second. It doesn’t ease the sting of rejection letters (because those are always brutal), but it gives the motivation to keep going. I hope you get your “yes” soon!

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  3. At times it is ridiculously difficult, but above all I am glad that you are not giving up on creating. That’s the most important thing, to keep creating! And hopefully the success follows. =)

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    • I can’t imagine a day without creating something – there is so much freedom and joy in the process. In that respect, we have found success and that is beautiful. Perhaps in time, a different kind of success will follow!

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