I’ve been putting myself out there a lot lately. A lot, a lot.
Not too much. No, I wouldn’t say too much. I’ve grown to believe that there is no such thing as ‘too much’ when it comes to this. There is only what you feel comfortable with and then that little bit more that you have to push yourself into because it’s scary but that’s also where the magic lies.
When a person puts themselves out there this much, though, there is bound to be rejection. When a person is new at this kind of pushing this far from the comfort zone, there is bound to be a lot of rejection. It’s how it goes. It’s to be expected. It’s part of the process.
Those of you who have been following me through this know where this is going. But, it’s not just that. I’m building an impressive collection of unrewarded freelance bids, unaccepted submissions, and unanswered magazine queries. Soon, I’ll be able to wallpaper the guest room.
The famous and the successful often talk about rejection. Rejection, it seems, lines the path to success. We all now know that J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece was rejected 12 times before Bloomsbury picked it up. John Grisham’s A Time to Kill? 28 times. Stephen King’s Carrie? 30 times.
I am in no way comparing myself to these geniuses.
But it puts things in perspective.
I’m putting myself out there a lot this year. I’m planning big things and trying big things and following dreams more seriously than I ever have before. I’m opening my heart to the possibilities. I’m taking seriously those quotes that line Pinterest boards up, down, and sideways. “Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.” “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible!” (Audrey Hepburn). Those words look pretty when designed or laid upon a gorgeous photo but they mean something too. They mean more than the half-a-second of smile you feel when you read them.
Or, at least, that is what I am telling myself today.
This is, of course, not the first time I’ve faced rejection. It might be the first time I’ve faced this much of it in such a concentrated time. But you don’t get to age 32 without your fair share of rejection.
Or, at least, you shouldn’t.
“But it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.” ~J.K. Rowling
Today, I am telling myself that during all of those months and years in which I didn’t feel failure, I was failing by default. I was riding along in the safety and comfort of the sure thing. The rejection stings, yes. But the looking back on those years of only talking about a dream and not getting to the point of actually working on living it, those are starting to sting even more.
If the brilliant success that is Harry Potter was rejected 12 times before it saw the light of day, then I have a lot more failing to do. Better get to it.
It’s impossible to not be disappointed. If I wasn’t disappointed that that would mean I didn’t really want it and if that were the case, then why did I go for it in the first place? That said, I’m glad I have the memory of trying and I have it preserved. I’m glad I also have the memories of the little burst of excitement I feel whenever I send in a submission or query. I will continue to enjoy the trying as I try to some day enjoy the succeeding.
I’m also glad that I got to meet Stephanie and Kate. They were lovely and so kind and I have no doubt that this year’s show will be spectacular.
And, finally, I’m glad that I have the support of my truly remarkable husband and best friend. They carry the torch when I can’t and there are no words with which to thank them.
For more rejection stats.
Another interesting read about the paths of now famous books and authors.