You write something brilliant at three in the morning, but by the next afternoon you want to burn it. You query a dozen agents and no one asks for pages. Your agent has submitted to 50 publishers and no one is interested. Your novel is getting awful reviews left and right.
At every stage of your writing career, no matter how successful you are, you are going to get discouraged. There will always be better writers, who got published earlier, made more money, and got better reviews. So take a second and wallow in your self-pity. Go ahead and get a Kleenex. I’ll wait.
You all done? Ready for my next piece of advice? Here it is.
Suck it up and keep writing.
J.K. Rowling was rejected by 12 publishing houses before getting published. Now? If you don’t know who she is, you must be from Mars.
John Grisham was rejected by 28 publishers before being picked up by a relative unknown for a measly 5,000-copy first printing. Now he has over 250 million books in print, in 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been made into major motion pictures.
Agatha Christie waited four years for her first book to be published. She went on to become one of the best-selling authors of all time; And Then There Were None alone has sold more than 100 million copies.
A Wrinkle in Time, Peter Rabbit, The Wizard of Oz, and even The Diary of Anne Frank were all rejected multiple times before some publisher took a chance on them and they became unforgettable classics. The list goes on. Don’t believe me? Google it!
Or try searching for a favorite book on Amazon and reading the one-star reviews. No matter how awesome the book is, somebody hated it. Here are things people said about The Book Thief, one of my absolute favorites:
“This book is all hype.”
“From its overwrought beginning to its sloppily tragic ending, this book trots out just about every hackneyed trick imaginable.”
“Most books have a least some redeeming value but the only one I can find for this book is the credit I will get at the used book store.”
See? It doesn’t matter what one person thinks, or what a dozen people think, or even what 90% of the people think. We all know that “most popular” rarely equals “best.” Now, we could take the other extreme and say it only matters that you think your work is good, but that kind of relativism is a sissy way to look at things.
But you wouldn’t be reading this post if you didn’t already care about being a better writer. So today, I’m not going to lecture you about studying more. I’m not going to preach that you need to work harder.
I’m just going to slap you upside the head and tell you to believe in yourself.
Don’t let failure be your excuse for giving up. Everybody fails. The only difference between people who succeed and people who keep failing is that the successful people don’t give up, no matter what anybody says.
So the next time you’re feeling discouraged, rejected, beaten down, remember: you’re in good company.