Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Are you really a failure?

Do you feel like a failure each time a piece of writing gets rejected or fails to be placed in a competition? You're not alone if so and that attitude is perfectly understandable ... but it's not the only way to look at things.

If you wrote something which matched the publisher/editor/judge's requirements in terms of word count, subject and layout, finished it to the best of your ability and sent it in (before any deadline) that's an achievement in itself and you should be proud of yourself. (If you didn't do all those things, there's a jolly good reason your piece wasn't accepted and you can put it right for next time.)

Have you been published or placed in a competition before? If you have there's no reason for that not to happen again. Keep trying.

Maybe you feel you've not yet had any success. Are you sure? No stories have been long listed? No busy editor thought your writing so good they took the time and trouble to send you something other than a standard rejection letter? Look at, or think back to, your earliest writing. Have you improved since then? Those things prove you're on the right track. Keep going.

Are you reading, learning and writing regularly? If you are, you're doing what just about every writer did before their first success - and keeps on doing. Don't quit.

The Insecure Writer's Support Group post on the first Wednesday of each month. It exists to ... well, I think you can work it out. All writers are welcome to join.


30 comments:

Arlee Bird said...

I'm blogging everyday which is kind of like writing, reading, and learning. I can't say I feel like a writing failure since I haven't submitted much of anything for over forty years so nothing has been rejected. But I'm okay with things for now.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patsy - I don't feel a failure ... I just get on with things - blogging has introduced me to lots of friends with positive thoughts ... so I'm not quitting ... glad you won't be too: and here's to more success for you (us!) - cheers Hilary

Nicola said...

Wise words, Patsy. I hope all is well with you. Please give my love to the writing group. I miss being part but with my health issues, I have to prioritise my daily life. Take care.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

As long as we are still writing and trying, we're getting better and not a failure.

Em-Musing said...

Great inspiration post today for us who are still insecure

Nancy Gideon said...

Every day at the keyboard is a success! What you make of that time is frosting on the cake. Nice post, Patsy!

Crystal Collier said...

Excellent advice. I remember a season where I got rejection after rejection, followed by a season of maybe's, followed by a season of yes. We get there if we keep on growing and pushing, eh?

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Thanks, Patsy, for this uplifting look at writing. Success is the way you look at life and your writing. Thanks for sharing this with your followers.

Patsy said...

If you're OK with your situation, then you're no failure.

Patsy said...

I'll second that - here's to our success!

Patsy said...

Nice to hear from you, Nicola. We miss you, but you're right, your health must come first.

Juneta Key said...

Don't feel that way yet but it does sometimes feel like a million mile away goal. Thank for the great info.
' Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Patsy said...

I agree - we haven't failed until we quit.

Patsy said...

Thanks, Em.

Jennifer Hawes said...

It's hard to keep your head up some days. But other days you feel like you're unstoppable!! ...the life of a writer :)

Bonnee Crawford said...

You haven't lost until you give up! As long as you keep doing your best and pushing yourself, your writing has not failed. Thanks for this bit of inspiration.

Patsy said...

Excellent way to look at it, Nancy.

Patsy said...

Absolutely - and try to remember any setbacks are probably only temporary.

Patsy said...

" Success is the way you look at life and your writing."

Absolutely!

Patsy said...

Better to be heading for a goal that's a long way off than have our backs turned to nearby success.

Patsy said...

Very true, Jennifer!

Patsy said...

Totally agree, Bonnee.

Wendy's Writing said...

I feel either a failure or a success most days of the week. Both states can be caused by numerous things - a rejection, a sale, words that won't come, words that flow, a dog walk that has ended in a story idea, a dog walk that's ended in the the dog jumping in a muddy ditch. All these highs and lows I share with writing buddy, Tracy, and it helps enormously to realise it's just part of a writer's life (not the dog part).

L said...

I have to tell myself that if you don't submit there is no way you can get an acceptance but it is disheartening to receive rejections, however pleasantly they are phrased. The Insecure Writer's Group makes us pick ourselves up and carry on, so thank you for your posts, Patsy.

Michelle Wallace said...

We're only failures if we stop trying, eh?
Somebody once said that the roller coaster ride is part of the writerly life...

Lindsay said...

A great post. Wise words. Like many writers, while I've had a few boosting successes the rejections or simply no placement in competitions feels like failure. Telling myself that it isn't always just because my story hasn't been good enough and that it may be a dozen other reasons, doesn't always help. But I know that is often the case - because several pieces that have been rejected find acceptance on the third or fourth try. Some may need many more tries though!

Patsy said...

This writing lark is never boring, is it?

Patsy said...

It's true - you do have to submit to get accepted, Linda.

Patsy said...

You're right, that giving up is the only real failure.

Patsy said...

There seems to be as much skill in finding the right home for a piece as there is in writing it.