At RWA16 I was delighted to sit in on a seminar by the wonderful Christie Craig. She spoke of her years of hard work in trying to get published and her disappointment with each rejection letter she received. Like her, I can relate. Over the years I’ve probably had enough rejections from editors and literary agents to fill a suitcase. Well, Christie Craig did. Fill a suitcase. And she brought it along with her to the seminar to illustrate just how many pieces of paper with her work rejected she’d received over the years.
I have to tell you it was eye opening.
I’ve always joked I’ve been rejected more times than there are books in the library. But I threw those rejection letters away and never thought about them again. This is my little psychological quirky way of dealing with unpleasant issues: out of sight, out of mind. Hey, it works for me.
Christie did not toss away her rejections. She saved them, accumulated them, stored them away so that one day she could take them out and say “Look. Look at what I had to suffer through to be a published author. Look at the fires I walked through to come out on the other side of my dream.”
She–and I–are not the only ones who’ve lived through mountains of rejections and so-called failures.
- R.H. Macy, yes that MACY, started 7 failed businesses before finally hitting it big with his NYC-based store
- Thomas Edison had 1000 unsuccessful light bulb inventions and attempts before one finally worked.
- After Fred Astaire’s screen test, the studio director stated that Astaire, “can’t dance, can’t sing, is balding and can dance a little.”
- Theodor Giesel, who the world lovingly knows as Dr Suess, had 27 publishers reject his first book.
- Stephen King received 30 rejections of Carrie, one of the most iconic horror books and movies of all time.
- Jack London’s first story received 600 rejection slips before being accepted.
- Elvis Presley was told by the manager of the Grand Ol’ Opry, “you ain’t going nowhere, son. Go back to driving a truck.” He then fired him after only 1 performance.
- Ever heard of Harland David Sanders? His secret recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it, coated their chicken with it and Kentucky Fried Chicken was born.
I could go on…and on. But won’t because you get the idea.
Hard work, perseverance, a backbone of steel, and total belief in yourself and what you have to offer is what differentiates a successful person from one who isn’t.
Think about it.
What are you going to do the next time you get rejected?
When I’m not being rejected(!), you can find me here: