Sometimes I Fail

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Writers fail all the time. Some of the most famous writers in history only got there via rejection, many after their deaths. If you put pen to paper, fingers to keys… doesn’t matter how you do this gig, inevitably you have to fail somewhere. Not only is it an essential part of process, it is the absolute best way to judge of you have the mental strength to be a writer in the first place. Now, for those capable, self-publishing at least can present a notion of success in a small sphere… except once you grasp that success is relative too, a lot of things change in life for the better.

Dealing with INEVITABLE REJECTION is a lot easier if you’ve experienced it second hand.

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The best training I could ever have had for this came from a very good friend, who was unexpectedly made redundant from a job he’d loved for many years. Refusing to compromise in a niche market, I lived through what was many months of tortuous interviews and almost consistent rejection. It wasn’t because he wasn’t the right person for the jobs, either, but the fact the right job didn’t exist for him. Once he went to employers (one whose work he totally idolised at the time) it became abundantly apparent that what he wanted and what employers wanted were often vastly different, and he was strong enough not to compromise on what mattered. In the end he moved his family to a different country to get what was most important to him. That’s the kind of personal devotion needed to get the job done.

I’ve never really thanked him for this, because at the time it was heartbreaking to have to build him up after every failure. I hated it, and only now can come to realise how much strength he was able to grant me by just being himself. Sometimes that’s all it needs: somebody with enough belief in their own ability and the ‘self’ they exist within. For me, every rejection is a step in the right direction. It teaches me countless different fundamentals about my own ability, and how things need to change. However, because I am a realist there remains the certainty that eventually, if I throw enough sharp objects at a target, one will stick. What is happening now is picking the right people to aim at. My friend’s success came after successfully knowing and aiming at a particular target. Which each new rejection, that’s what I do too.

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Right now, when I get the Novel finished, I’ll have a workable raw material to sharpen and start throwing. That’s never existed before, and when it does, I’ll be ready to use it for good. I confidently predict a ton of rejections, I’ll welcome them happily with open arms, because it will mean I’m confident enough not simply to take them, but to allow them to make me stronger. If all you see is failure, that is all that happens. That’s not one of those dodgy motivational poster things, it’s an insoluble truth from decades of my own practical experience, and only by living the fail do I get how the fail can destroy what you are.

One day, I will hit a target, and when I do, you’ll be the first to hear about it.