A while back, I was on a live stream with Anna Akana when she did something that surprised me. Instead of saying “aw man” or so when I mentioned how many rejections I have gotten, she got excited. She said it was good for me.
After the rejections made a mountain on my desk, they felt more negative. Like the judging world was against what I’ve created. But Anna seemed generally excited that I was putting my work out there.
“That’s amazing! That’s awesome. You have to face so much rejection before you get like a win. That’s awesome. You can’t have a yes without like a f***ing pile of nos.”
The recognition felt good. Truly. But I still wondered how many rejections do we need to get before we realize we’re…bad?
I know my applications have improved since those rejections. My poetry is better. My queries are stronger. My writing raises notice. For better? I’m not sure. But they have changed.
But even then, if I got over 50 rejections, does that mean that I’m not good at what I want to do? Even if I keep putting myself out there, there should be a rejection limit that makes me rethink what I’m doing. Right?
But I also know the security line of what gets published or not—those literary agents and editors—don’t always make the best decisions. Dr. Seuss got rejected 27 times before getting published. The Help got rejected 60 times. Chicken Soup for the Soul got rejected 144 times.
Even James Patterson, the #1 author who averages at least 70–90 million every year, got rejected 31 times.
But does that mean we should always keep going no matter what? Or should there be a time when we stop, reevaluate what we’re doing, and at least rethink it? Leave a comment below!