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Courage Works

Janet Anderton Art Shouty Encouragement

I got a good rejection from an agent last week. "Nope, we don't want this script. But try with something else in a couple months."

It's great because they liked me enough to encourage, it sucks because they said no.

If you're like me, if you're like most writers I know, know this:

You're going to get rejected.

You're going to get a lot of emails and mails and to-your-face words that say "Sorry, this isn't what we're looking for" and I'm pretty sure at no time is that going to be less than really hard.

Hollow-in-the-belly hard. If-I-was-any-good-they-wouldn't-have-said-no-so-I-must-suck hard. I should just stop hard.




Absolutely do not stop.

Hurt for awhile because you are hurt—rejection hurts, it just does. But this is the motivating fact you want to remember: Every single writer or actor or musician you love-adore-cherish was rejected. All of them.

The person whose books line your bookshelf had rejections with which they could paper a wall. No, said one. No, said another. Another no. No no no no no no nono.

Agatha Christie was rejected.

Isaac Asimov was rejected.

J.K. Rowling was rejected.

Neil Gaiman was rejected.

What they did right after the rejection I don't know. One thing I do know they did is this:

They went ahead and submitted the book, the story, the demo tape, the show reel again. And again. And again.

And again.

And again.

They got rejected and it hurt and then they turned around and just did it again because success is doable. Publishing happens. Signing up with an agent happens. Every single day a creator signs on with their first agent, sells their first story, sees their artwork in a masthead.

First comes the rejection though—for everyone.

"Nobody is universally embraced," writes author Chuck Wendig, but "I can tell you this: each rejection letter is a badge of honor. It’s a battle scar, baby. Proof that you’re out there in the trenches, the jungles, the muddy fields and foggy bogs, and you’re kicking ass and taking names. Rejection is par for the course. Everybody gets rejected."

The only difference between us and the people succeeding right now is time. That's it. They got there first but we'll get there after because like them, like Rowling and Gaiman and Wendig, we'll keep going.

Rejection is a sign you're trying. Tons of people don't have the courage to try. You do.

Courage works. It moves you forward. So does knowing you're not alone. The people you admire were rejected. They got there.

You can and you will, too.

(Now kindly stick that in your motivation pipe, and smoke it.)

* 50 writers whose names you know who were rejected
* 25 things writers should know about rejection
* Great reasons why a rejection may have nothing to do with you
* Why you should try to get 100 rejections a year

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