by Marla White
“Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”
—Sir Winston Churchill
In your life as a writer, there is going to be rejection. Lots and lots of rejection. There are always people out there who are more than happy to say “no” to you because it’s easier and safer than working with you to make your book/script/play a “yes”. And you know what? That’s ok. Everyone gets rejected – hell, I just read an article about Brian Grazer getting fired when he first started out in television. Did he let it get him down? Well, according to the article in Deadline, no, but let’s be honest, the man’s a freak of nature, most of us don’t have half of the chutzpah he has, it’s called being human.
So how do you keep the fires of your passion burning when you keep hearing ‘no’? J. K. Rowling was on welfare before hitting it big with “Harry Potter”, Stephen King’s novel “Carrie” was rejected thirty times and he threw the manuscript in the garbage before it sold. What did they do to keep going?
If I ever got the chance to ask them that question, I imagine their answer would be it comes down to passion. If you can imagine yourself NOT writing, then you might want to think about a different career path.
What can you do to keep writing without losing enthusiasm for it despite lack of apparent success? Try hanging out with other people with the same goal. Join a writer’s group to get constructive feedback and encouragement from people in the trenches right along side of you. Celebrate their success – if it happened to them, it can happen to you! Even if the connection is only virtual commiserate with fellow writers their struggles via their Twitter feed or Instagram. Don’t beat yourself up for being a normal mortal who loses sight of their passion once in a while and needs help from someone else who understands and might have even gone through the same thing to regain it.
I would borrow one simple rule from another writer friend – pitches not bitches. If a fellow writer can only offer criticism without giving any suggestions to fix it or highlighting some good along with the bad, they’re toxic to your writing and will only fan the flames of your discouragement, not help you put it out.
Being a little thick sometimes (and maybe too optimistic) I have to continue to re-learn over and over again there is no shortage of people who will go out of their way to make you feel like you’re not good enough on one level or another. There is no magic antidote for these people or situations where you feel less than worthy, but have the courage to not take it out on your characters; they’re depending on you to live.