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How Rejection Can Lead to Success

Posted in: Blog by amy on January 29, 2018

“I love rejection,” said nobody. It stings; it hurts; it makes us question ourselves, our worth, our meaning. Sure, we can embrace it and learn from it and work harder because of it. But, there’s no way around it: Rejection is painful. Whether we are talking about love or work or friendship, rejection is something that all of us have experienced, some of us more times than we’d like to remember. Many people don’t take risks because they want to avoid failure. They fear that dreaded rejection. But, I’ve always believed, as have many others, that rejection makes us stronger and better. Also, rejection can lead us toward increased focus and passion.

In my late 40s, I have now chosen to put my creative work out there to face the possibility of acceptance or to receive those distressing letters of rejection. And, oh, how those letters quickly fill the inbox. “Thank you for the opportunity to read your work.” That’s never a great start. At least I don’t think it is. I haven’t yet received a letter from a literary journal in which I’ve been told that my poem was chosen for publication. But, I have started to recognize the rejections before I even get to the second line. The thing is: I have never tried to get my poems published in a literary journal. I have shared my poems with my followers and my friends; I have published a book of my poetry; and I have only received positive feedback for the past few decades. Until now. Now, I am attempting to tackle a hard-to-penetrate market — the world of intellectual, challenging, competitive literary journals.

I could have just reveled in the positive feedback I normally receive for my blogs and children’s books, but I wanted to take on this next challenge. I wanted to try to climb the next stair. I wanted to be able to share my work with a different, undiscovered audience. And, I wanted to succeed. But, getting there is not easy. I am working with a company that specializes in helping writers reach their publishing goals. They told me that their average client receives 100 rejections before getting published in a literary journal. One hundred. That’s a lot of rejections. How many punches could a boxer take before the match is called? How many shots would a basketball player miss before packing away the high tops? And, how many emails can I open that politely thank me for the opportunity to read my work? IMG_3546

Here’s what I keep reminding myself: It only takes one YES. That day will come, and I am confident it will come soon — the day when I will be sharing the link to the literary journal that chose to publish a recent poem of mine. I know this because I believe it. I know this because I want it. I know this because with each rejection, I am trying harder. I am pushing myself further. I am improving my craft. I am building my passion. And, I am improving.

It helps, as a writer, to remind myself that every writer has faced rejection. From Stephen King who was rejected by publishers who told him no one would want to read his dark stories to J.K. Rowling, who was told not to quit her day job. Books including Gone With the Wind, Moby Dick, Lord of the Flies and Catch 22 were all initially REJECTED. These are some of our greatest literary works. They were once rejected. Or, in some cases, they were rejected dozens of times.

IMG_3550There are the stories to which we all can relate and the ones we all have heard: Michael Jordan didn’t make his varsity team in high school his sophomore year. Music stars such as Ed Sheeran and Missy Elliot were told they didn’t have the right marketable look to succeed in the music industry. And, countless business people have their rejection stories, as well. Walt Disney was once told by a newspaper editor that he lacked imagination! We can tell and share these stories because not one person mentioned above gave up on his/her dream. They all stayed focused or apparently got more motivated. They kept moving forward. They stayed passionate and authentic and centered on their goal.

So, if you are not having success in love, in your career, in your attempts at getting published, in tryouts for sports teams, in job interviews or in sharing music demos, I remind you that this will not only make you stronger. These painful times will make you better. If you can stay with your passion and continue to improve and evolve, you will one day be standing on the free-throw line in a crowded stadium, watching your shot get nothing but net. You will be starting your first day at your dream job. You will be hearing your song on the radio. And, you will be sharing the link to the literary journal that just published your poem. It is on the way … if you believe it is.

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One Response to “How Rejection Can Lead to Success”

  1. Penny says:

    Thank you. Loved this article and appreciate your candor. You are right and I’m looking forward to your success. Xo. Penny

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