Last year I read a tweet about a woman who decided to get rejected 20 times the year she turned 30 and it taught her a lot. After all, you can’t expect to have success if you don’t put yourself out there. Since it was almost my birthday when I read the tweet, I decided to get rejected 12 times the year I turned 24. It hasn’t been quite a year, but I’ve made 13 attempts and have been rejected 12 times.
My first attempt was an article I wrote and submitted to HelloGiggles. I don’t want to get too in detail about what it was about since it’s now irrelevant, but I spent so much time working on this personal essay and didn’t hear back from HelloGiggles for months. By the time I finally heard back, it was too late and I knew there was no way I would ever let the article see the light of day. REJECTION 1.
My second, third, and fourth attempts were all screenwriting competitions I submitted a pilot to. I went to school for screenwriting and hadn’t done anything with the tv pilot I wrote while I was in school for ages despite it being my passion project. So after a couple more edits, I put it back out there and didn’t even place in the competition. REJECTION 2, 3 AND 4.
Last fall I ended up sitting alone at a soccer game. Do I know anything about sports? No. Do I care about sports? Also no. However, I ended up texting a friend all my reactions, which were golden enough that I decided to write them into an article: attempt 5. I put it on Buzzfeed, (which I can’t find now, but you can read it here) but it was rejected as a featured post. REJECTION 5.
Attempt 6 wasn’t putting myself out there as much as it was me doing a challenge that would either become a personal success or failure. This challenge was NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. You can read my full blog post about my NaNo experience here. I didn’t think I’d be able to write 50k words in a month, but not only did I accomplish that, but I also did it in 22 days. SUCCESS 1.
Then this year I wrote a blog post about BPD (which you can read here) and along with posting it on my own blog, I submitted it to The Mighty. However, it was rejected. REJECTION 6.
Along the same lines, I also recently applied to write for the upcoming mental health publication ”The Breakdown”, and didn’t get it. REJECTION 7.
It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling financially lately, and so attempts 9-13 were part-time job applications. I applied to Spool of Thread (cause you all know how much I love sewing), two front desk reception jobs, and two sales associate jobs. Well, I’m still broke and I didn’t get an interview at any of them. REJECTIONS 8-12.
You might be wondering what the point of me writing about all this is since out of 13 attempts I only had one success. I’ve previously written about how you can learn more from failure than from success, and I really believe that. I learned so much putting myself out there. If I hadn’t have submitted my abandoned script to screenwriting competitions, I wouldn’t have fallen back in love with it and rewrote it as a novel for NaNo. Every rejected article has made me a better writer. I’ve learned I need to be more aggressive when I apply for jobs. These are all really valuable lessons. I’m no longer as afraid of failure as I used to be, and I can’t wait to have more rejections (and successes, of course) in the future.