Monday, November 19, 2012
"Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure. " ~ George Edward Woodberry
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." ~Thomas Edison
"Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down." ~Mary Pickford
"Failure doesn't mean you are a failure... it just means you haven't succeeded yet." ~Robert Schuller
"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat." ~F. Scott Fitzgerald
"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently." ~Henry Ford
"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not lived at all. In which case, you've failed by default." ~ J.K. Rowling
I am a writer. I am not, however a "successful" writer yet. I have yet to make a sale. Each rejection feels like a personal slap in the face. The sting should lessen over time, but it doesn't. Each query or story I send out is acompanied with the same soaring hopes, and each rejection is the same crushing blow.
But, my consistant failure to become a published author has now paid off for my son.
He tried out for the Winter Percussion group at school. He has been playing the trumpet for six years, but has never held a drum stick. He has rhythm, but no skill. 24 students tried out for 18 slots. It was the first time he tried out for anything -- and he didn't make it.
So, I showed him my submission log. All the rejections over the last six months or so that I have been seriously trying to market my writing. I asked him how he thought I handled each rejection.
He said "You just submit it again."
"Not quite," I said. "First, I cuss at my computer. Then I mentally kick myself for a while. 'You suck. You're never going to make it. You should just give up.' Sometimes, I even cry. THEN I send in another submission."
He said "But you never give up on anything, and you always tell me it doesn't do any good to say things like that."
I nodded. "You're right. I say that. And it doesn't do any good, but you may have noticed, I sometimes do things that aren't good. The truth is, that there is always that moment where I consider giving up, just like you do. Considering giving up isn't failure - only actually giving up is."
I hope he gets the right lesson from it.
Now, the next step is to actually get published so I can demonstrate that all that rejection isn't the end, right?