To quote the esteemed Captain Picard of Star Trek fame: “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life.” Failure is an unavoidable — yet important — part of the writing life. In fact, failing is absolutely vital if you want to succeed as a writer! If you’ve been holding back in your writing or submission strategy because you’re afraid of rejection, here’s why you should go ahead and fail.
Go Ahead And Fail — It’s Good For You!
You’ll become a better writer. You created your best work and proudly hand it over to your proofreader. But then the pages are returned covered in red ink and writing tips. Or a member of your writing group points out a plot hole or another error in your short story, poem, or book manuscript. You feel like a failure with a scarlet “F” scrawled across your work.
But these aren’t reasons to give up on writing: They’re opportunities to learn and grow! Soon you’ll be spotting and fixing plot holes, grammar mistakes, and more.
You’ll grow as a person. If you’re going to be a writer, you’re going to need to develop a thick skin. Of course, a difficult or mean-spirited critique can be debilitating and even demoralizing! But keep this in mind: If you don’t agree with a critique of your work — don’t make changes just because one person tells you to. Put the work away for a while, then come back to it knowing that you (and no one else) are the best judge of your own work. However, if the feedback you’re getting is genuinely constructive criticism, put aside your pride and use the information to improve your writing.
Remember to be nice to yourself! When you feel like you’re failing as a writer, do something to boost your mood and confidence. Do a silly dance, be kind to a stranger, meditate, spend time outside — whatever makes you happy!
You’ll be closer to getting published. For many writers, the idea of getting a rejection is so nerve-wracking, they never submit their work. After all, you can’t fail if you don’t make any submissions, right? True: But you’ll never be published, either!
Writers who succeed at having their work published know that each rejection brings them one step closer to getting an acceptance. Your rejection letter isn’t something to be embarrassed about — it’s a badge of honor showing that you had the guts to try! And you’ll be in good company: Agatha Christie, Robert Pirsig, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Maya Angelou, and many other bestselling authors were rejected many, many times before finally getting published.
“I encourage you to reject rejection. If someone says no, just say NEXT!” — Jack Canfield
Remember, the more you fail at getting published, the more you’re succeeding at getting your work out there. See what others have to say, use the feedback that makes sense, hold your head high, and keep failing until you succeed. To paraphrase another famous Star Trek crew member: Live long and prosper and publish!