A Bit About Failure and Rejection

Here I am at my most vulnerable. No, not because it’s the first thing in the morning and I’m not wearing makeup. And not because I haven’t yet got up and found my dressing gown. Because I have a book going out to publishers.

Right now, people will be reading my work and deciding if they ‘love it enough’ to read the rest. Some will but some, inevitably, will decide they don’t…

Writers have to deal with rejection. If you write seriously, you have to come to terms with failure. You will, nearly always, and almost completely guaranteed, fail with your writing. You may start something and not finish it. You may finish it but not like it. You might like it, but not get an agent to like it. Your agent might like it, but no publishers do. One publisher might like it and give you a measly advance or maybe several publishers will like it and you’ll get a large advance…but not get good reviews. Or maybe you’ll get great reviews, but not win that year’s big prize. Or maybe you WILL win that year’s big prize, but you don’t get a movie deal. Or the movie never gets made. Or it does get made, but it doesn’t get good reviews. Or the movie gets great reviews but it doesn’t win an Oscar. Or it wins an Oscar but everyone says that the book it was based on was rubbish…

There is no end to the ways in which writers can fail.

Right now, in the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, students are competing for the Janklow-Nesbit prize. It’s a prestigious award that can start a writer’s career with a catapult. And the ones who haven’t been shortlisted feel as if they’ve failed. They haven’t even BEGUN to truly fail as writers…that takes years…

And what if all this failure makes you stop writing fiction? Rachael Bloom was on the MA a few years ago, writing about a subject very close to her heart. Her novel never did do what she’d hoped, and, eventually, she founded a charity about the subject; the Rhett Syndrome Research Trust UK. It’s an amazing charity that has raised money for ground-breaking research. Rachael uses her writing skills in fundraising, pr, marketing, etc. There may soon be a cure for this dehabilitating disease that strikes women and girls, thanks to Rachael. Some failure, eh?




2 thoughts on “A Bit About Failure and Rejection

  1. Relevant for those just starting the MA program[me], too. Wonderful that a writer is using her skills to make a difference to so many others, even if it’s not a work found in Barnes and Nobles. Wonderful!

  2. That’s great news, Mimi, I try and do similar with my writing skills in my charity marketing/fundraising positions. Hoping it’ll lead to a little more paid work soon which will allow me to focus on my creative work – that’ll be success as far as I’m concerned.

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