Rejection Is Hard

So I’m trying to be a writer… I think I’ve made that pretty obvious from the start. The one thing that I expected all the way through is that the road would not be easy. How can it be easy to create something out of nothing and have everyone like it? But that’s the goal of a writer; to draw out some fiction from the darkest depths of your brain, put it on a page and then gain the appreciation of others on the way to success. The process itself is mysterious and complex. How could success follow it that easily?

I’ve been turned down for a lot of things in my time; relationships, jobs, credit cards, etc. It’s fair to say that all of these rejections have taken me down different paths which have led me to where I am now (which is to say in a good job with a great fiancé and minimal debt). These negatives have in fact been positives, if you look at them with the benefit of age and experience. Any changes back then would have resulted in a very different me of today (I’ve covered life-altering significance before too). In short, I’m a better person now because of what would have been considered negatives in the past.

But back on the topic of being a writer… Rejection of my writing has been the toughest of all to bear. You might say that because of my earlier life experiences this could work out in my favour, but I know that I still want to write and will for the years to come. There won’t be any “remember back when I wanted to be a writer?!” anecdotes from Future Dave. So these knockbacks have been harder to reconcile myself with. The toughest part of all is when they look like this:

This feedback was for the same sitcom pilot. The first response came from an agent and at least it had some nice comments. The second response, this time from a major television network, took three months to receive and it couldn’t have been more generic. Now this isn’t a sob story. I’m not asking anybody to weep for me because I know that there are a lot of people out there putting in just as much work as I am (more, in fact, if I’m honest about it). I’m just highlighting that rejections like this cause me to doubt myself. I don’t always take feedback as well as I should (it is something I’m working on personally and professionally, I assure you). But it’s something that you just have to work through. Nobody goes through life and just gets whatever they want first time (well if they do, I’ve never met them). The world is full of stories of now legendary writers whom we could not live without being rejected time and again before finding success. It happens to the best, and it also happens to me.

There is a lesson here that is valid for me and many others out there, I’m sure, regardless of which discipline within which you aim to succeed. Obstacles will always be in between you and what you want to achieve. How you deal with those obstacles is what defines you. You have to not let them stop you in the drive for what you want. The feedback I’ve gotten so far is not enough for me to make sweeping changes to what or how I write. What it has told me is that I can be better. What I write can be more engaging, more creative, more gripping than it is right now. If I can take the vague concept of “make it better” and run with it, I will have content that takes hold of people and eventually someone will have no choice but to pass it down the line to someone who can make a simple decision that will have life-changing significance for me.

Someone once told me that you have to keep doing the work. It’s as simple as that. So that’s what I’m going to do and it’s what I’d urge everyone out there to do as well. Keep working at whatever it is until you’re good enough that people can’t afford to say no any longer.

That’s how you make it. Or at least it’s how I intend to make it. You know, eventually…

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