Who would be a writer? You write. You edit. You pitch. You deal with rejection. You might land a publishing deal but this doesn’t mean people will read your book – you’ve got to become a social media marketing expert too. Then you read the bad reviews and wonder why you even bothered. It’s a tough process but don’t give up. It’s a fact: we get better at writing the more we write. That’s one good reason not to give up. Here are 5 more:
1. You can still win
John Spurling scooped the £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction with a book that was REJECTED 44 TIMES before he finally found a publisher. The Ten Thousand Things took him 15 years to write but he didn’t give up.
2. Hard work is worth it
An “overnight success” rarely happens. You have to put the hours in. Other writers might seem to hit the big time in a short space of time but it sounds like marketing hype to us. Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin who wrote The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep was hailed as an overnight success but it took THREE AND A HALF YEARS s to come up with the perfect story. Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin explains:
I had written books before about leadership and personal development using these techniques but I got the idea for a children’s book while I was driving on a long journey with my mother and she fell asleep and I got the idea of how I could use my methods to help children relax.
When we stopped I wrote it all down on a napkin but it took another three and a half years to come up with the perfect story so that all the techniques were used in the correct order.
3. Suck it up like Sylvia Plath
Even The Bell Jar author had to deal with criticism but continued writing nonetheless. An editor at Knof publishing house wrote on Plath’s rejection letter: “I have now re-read—or rather read more thoroughly—“The Bell Jar” with the knowledge that it is by Sylva Plath which has added considerably to its interest for it is obviously flagrantly autobiographical. But it still is not much of a novel.” Ouch.
4. Replace the nail with a spike
If the weight of rejections letters gets too much, follow Stephen King’s lead. “The nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”
5. It’s not me, it’s you
When a writer gets a bad review, it hurts. Instead of grinding to a halt and vowing not to write another word, shake off the criticism. So the reviewer didn’t like the book? It’s an opinion, not a personal attack. There will always be a one-star review no matter how successful you are. Here is a scathing put-down of Anthony Doerr’s book All The Light We Cannot See: “Dreadful sentimentalism. I read it for the book club I am a member of otherwise I would have not gone passed the first chapter.”