by Shannon Baker
I admit, sometimes I need a little inspiration. Once in a while (daily) I doubt myself and wonder just what makes me think I can do this thing called writing. Even though I know almost every writer has times of doubt, sometimes I think everyone else is confident and fearless. For those of us who don’t always feel like Super Man or Woman, here are a few tidbits to pump you up.
One of my favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill, a man famous for failure. He flunked 6th grade and lost a handful of elections, in fact, every race he attempted, until he was elected Prime Minister.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
Among a myriad of failure to success stories I have collected, here are a couple of blubs I plagiarized from the InterWebs. (It’s not a sin if I confess, right?)
J. K. Rowling: Rowling may be rolling in a lot of Harry Potter dough today, but before she published the series of novels, she was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel. Rowling went from depending on welfare to survive to being one of the richest women in the world in a span of only five years through her hard work and determination. Did you know that this author of the Harry Potter phenomenon (which has sold more than 400 million copies), was rejected by twelve publishers? In her own words: “So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable.”
Stephen King: The first book by this author, the iconic thriller Carrie, received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up and throw it in the trash. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit it, and the rest is history, with King now having hundreds of books published and the distinction of being one of the best-selling authors of all time.
Jack London: This well-known American author wasn't always such a success. While he would go on to publish popular novels like White Fang and The Call of the Wild, his first story received six hundred rejection slips before finally being accepted.
One story close to my heart is that of Mari Sandoz. She was a famous Nebraska writer, publishing from the mid-thirties through the mid-sixties. She grew up in the same isolated and rugged region of the Sandhills where I spent twenty years. Her controlling and abusive father ridiculed writing; she married and divorced in the 1910’s, and pursued her writing through poverty and illness. By her own account, she received thousands of rejections over the course of sixteen years. Yet, she kept writing. Kept sending it out. In the end, she had a slew of award-winning books and I can tell you, they are amazing.