57 Rejections

 

Most of you may know that I’m a writer. And most of you may also know that I’ve been trying to get my first novel published by a traditional publishing company. What most of you don’t know is that I’ve been rejected by every literary agent I’ve submitted to. As of today, I’ve been rejected 57 times.

 

57 times.

FIFTY.

SEVEN.

NEW YORK TIMES.

 

Let me put it to you this way.

Imagine you’re looking for a date for prom and there are 100 girls in your class. You ask 57 of them and all 57 reject you. For 57 straight days, 57 straight girls reject you.

Is that an extreme example? Is it really that serious? Maybe not. But the point is this: if 57 girls rejected you back-to-back, one of 2 things would probably happen to you. You would either start hating girls or you’d start hating yourself and think that something was wrong with you.

 

And for a while I did those two things. First I started hating agents and the whole publishing world. With every rejection letter I got, I uttered, “Screw you and everything you stand for.” and fantasized of becoming a best-selling author and pouring barrels of salt onto their desks on my way to my book release party.

 

But eventually, around rejection 29 or so, that hatred switched inward and I started wondering what was wrong with me. Am I not a good writer? What if they’re right? What if this book is trash and I’m just too naïve to see it? What if I didn’t hear from God and He doesn’t want me to be a writer? What if I’m supposed to throw this dream away and do something else?

These were the two mentalities I found myself swinging back and forth between.

 

But I found that there’s also a third option…

 

I heard of this thing called the law of averages, which says that the likelihood of certain events happening will even out if the frequency increases. In other words, no matter how unlikely it is for something to happen, if you try it long enough, it will eventually happen.

 

Mathematically, it has to.

 

And most of us have experienced this firsthand by flipping a water bottle over and over and over again until it finally lands straight up.

 

So I’m back at it. 57 rejections. And there’ll be a lot more coming. But I’ll keep going because eventually, someone, somewhere, has to say yes.

 

But why am I writing this? To vent? To make you feel sorry for me? Far from it. I’m writing this because people usually share their story AFTER they’ve become successful. You hear about the star athlete after he shows up on ESPN, or the pastor after he’s leading a megachurch and then they say things like, “I wasn’t always like this.” But no one likes to share how hard the road is while they’re still walking that road.

 

So I’m writing this to encourage my fellow dreamers pursuing a dream God has put in them. You are not alone. And when I succeed, you will remember that indeed, I wasn’t always like this, and you will realize that the same can happen to you.

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