5/26/11

how many times could you be turned down?

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I've read The Help, actually more like gobbled it down in one sitting, hunched over my kitchen table late at night, devouring each word.

I loved that book. And I know I'm not alone. The Help has been on The New York Times' bestsellers list for weeks and this summer it'll be a movie. I've already seen the trailer.

In short we can call the book successful. Wildly so.

My mom recently emailed me an essay by the author of The Help Kathryn Stockett and what she had to say about failure. Yes-- failure not success.

It took Kathryn a year and a half to write her book and she didn't keep her project a secret but told all her friends. When she finished, she proudly mailed it off to a literary agent.

Six weeks later she got this reply: “Story did not sustain my interest.”

She wasn't discouraged but saw it as an opportunity to make the story better. She worked some more and sent it off again to more agents.

And received more rejections.

A friend told her "Maybe the next book will be the one." But Kathryn didn't want it to be the next book. She believed in this one.

A year and a half later, she received her 40th rejection letter with this note: “There is no market for this kind of tiring writing.”

And she cried. Yet she still worked on her story.

After three and a half years and 60 rejections an agent accepted the book. Three weeks later the story was on its way to being published.

Kathryn writes in the article: "The point is, I can’t tell you how to succeed. But I can tell you how not to: Give in to the shame of being rejected and put your manuscript—or painting, song, voice, dance moves, [insert passion here]—in the coffin that is your bedside drawer and close it for good."

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 Some days it's easy to be discouraged. Some days I wonder what I'm doing, where I'm going and if anything I'm aiming for is worth it. A lot of time I'm tired and I'm my own worst enemy and my biggest critic.

But it is worth it friends. It is. If you believe in what you do, if you believe in the goal you have in front of you then that is enough. It may take two failures, 20 mistakes or a whopping 60 letters telling you why your dream is not good enough.

In the end, though, I believe it's worth it.

Go read this entire essay and share it with others who need a little pick me up.

And this is cheesy but if you ever want to share your dream and your success or perhaps a tale of a failure, let me know. I'd love to hear it. rougeandwhimsy [at] gmail [dot] com

p.s. and if you haven't read The Help you should. :)

4 comments

  1. I read that book a few months ago and loved it, but I hadn't heard the back story. That's amazing! And sooooo inspiring! I bet about 60 people who didn't give it a chance feel a little silly now. I absolutely can't wait to see the movie! :)

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  2. so good! I need to remember this while i am job searching:)
    great post!
    :)gina

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  3. It's really hard to believe that this book got 60 rejections. The editors must not have even opened it to read. It was amazing.

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