What I’ve Learned from Failure

I didn’t have to deal with failure in my childhood (except for those crushes that were never requited). I wasn’t quite a child genius, but I was gifted. I managed to get to college almost entirely on scholarships including a National Merit Scholarship. I got on the honor roll despite the most perfunctory study habits.

I came to failure late and hard. Particularly in submitting my writing, particularly novels. I have received enough rejection to paper my room.

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

What I have learned about rejection:

  • Don’t take it personally. If I have given my best, after reading guides on how to write, writing, editing, beta-reading, revising, and the like, it’s probably that my writing doesn’t fit the agent’s list or the journal’s theme I have learned, for example, that my poetry is not High Concept, as it doesn’t get published in high concept journals. This doesn’t surprise me because my Ph.D. is not in English/Creative Writing. My short stories are also not High Concept, being firmly lodged in the category of fantasy, romantic fantasy, and space opera. There are some places I’m more likely to get published in than others.
  • See what you can learn from it. I have had to grow as a writer by asking myself, “What is the takeaway from this?” I had to get rid of my perfunctory habits once I realized that one didn’t turn in one’s first draft (in my defense, it had very few grammatical or spelling errors). I read a lot of material on writing because of rejection.
  • Try again. Always try again.

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