“Rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough; it means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer.”
Author Mark Amend
My ever-inspiring friend and mentor Coach Mike Tully has been featuring a wonderful series of number-related stories on his site TotalGameplan.com and it’s definitely worth checking out. One story instantly caught my attention — it focused on the number twelve:
“Rejection hurts. But it didn’t hurt enough to make J.K. Rowling stop trying. Rowling’s book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone went to 12 publishing houses before finally being accepted. She went on to be the first female to become a billionaire author.”
As we work on our own writing projects whatever they may be, let’s keep in mind the number twelve. At some stage, many of us are going to feel ready to share what we’ve written with the world. In many cases, that may mean going the traditional path to publication which makes it very likely that we’ll experience many a “no” before we reach that exciting “yes.”
When rejection comes our way — and it will — we can fold our tents or like J.K. Rowling, we can keep going. Think about all those publishers, one after another, who passed on her wizardly first book because they didn’t believe it would capture the fancy of kids and prove commercially viable. They were the “pros” in their field — and yet they let a wondrous tale slip by them. I’ve more than one editor speak about “the ones that got away” — stories they rejected which went on to become bestsellers.
When J.K. Rowling gave a commencement speech at Harvard in 2008, she urged the graduating students to take risks and leave their comfort zones: “Some failure in life is inevitable. 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.”
Let’s make a choice not to live cautiously. Let’s write dangerously. If we fail, let’s fail forward and keep trying until we get where we want to go. When the going gets tough, let’s remember the number twelve and all the experts who failed to notice what J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter had to offer. And then, let’s write on!