If you’ve ever submitted a query letter or book proposal to a publisher, chances are you understand what it means to get a rejection letter. If you get one of those, don’t despair or think you’ve failed. Instead, remind yourself rejection means you’re working. You can’t get rejected if you don’t submit your query or proposal, so give yourself credit for pursuing your writing career and send your query or proposal to the next publisher on your list.
Here are some tips to help you remember that failure doesn’t mean your writing journey is done. It just means you’ve taken a detour.
- Take chances. Doing nothing assures you won’t succeed at reaching your goal of being published.
- Accept that you (like everyone) will make mistakes. Learn from those mistakes instead of trying to hide them.
- Learn to endure temporary defeat. And I do mean temporary. Every time we fail, we earn another opportunity to succeed because we gain information, learn what doesn’t work, and get to try again. Every defeat helps us work toward a future victory.
- Prepare to fail. By that I mean you’re better off to create both best-case and worst-case scenarios, then determine whether or not you can live with the worst case. If you can, push forward. If you can’t, work on a new plan that you can live with.
- Be open to new possibilities. You may have a particular end result in mind, but another opportunity you hadn’t considered could pop up. Allow yourself to consider the new option.
- Learn from your failures. If you get a rejection notice, try to figure out why. For example, how well did you research the types of articles or books the publisher publishes? Did you verify you’re sending your query to the correct person? Well, you get the idea.
- Avoid blaming others for your failures. Taking responsibility for your mistakes isn’t always easy, but if you honestly exam why you didn’t succeed, you might find you dropped the ball or didn’t do everything you could have to get what you hoped for.
- Fix what went wrong. Going through these tips is helpful, but nothing will change unless you do something to change what went wrong. Start by giving yourself credit to trying, create your plan to correct what went wrong, then move forward by doing something.
Failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Always be aware that you are not a failure, only the effort you put forth failed. You will eventually succeed as long as you keep moving forward. You will most likely fail if you give up. I say most likely because you may make the decision to stop. That’s not failure. That’s a decision. Happy writing!