I see too many writers give up after getting a few rejection letters. They start their book with passion, inspiration and deep commitment, only to be shut down when some stranger sends them a form rejection letter saying their book isn’t good enough. (Yuck!)
From there, most writers take one of two paths forward:
- They give up. Their once-beloved book goes on the back burner, where it sits for years.
- They push forward, no matter what.
What happens to the folks who give up on their dream, and let go of the book that their soul insisted they write?
Well, I believe they lose a bit of their oomph. Giving up on a dream has very real consequences. Each time we give up on ourselves, we recede a bit more.
Meanwhile, the folks in the second group recommit. They open themselves up to a variety of possibilities—looking outside the box, asking themselves how they can make their dream a reality. And then they stay open to answers that arrive from unexpected places. They also stay open to a future that doesn’t look like what they expected.
I’m not judging here–and to be clear, I’ve done both. I’ve given up on myself more times than I can count. But the older I get, the more important it is to me that I stay true to myself. That I challenge myself. And that I keep chipping away at the little voice inside my head that tells me I can’t.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead must have learned that lesson early on.
After receiving 25 rejections on his agented novel, Whitehead refused to give up. As he says in this interview:
I became a writer once I realized no one liked my stuff. I just had no choice but to keep going and start a new novel. — Colson Whitehead
That next novel became The Intuitionist, his debut novel.
Is that cool or what?
It would have been easy to give up after a) having landed an agent and b) having his book rejected by publishers 25 times.
Instead, he kept going. And yes, his first published book wasn’t what he thought it would be, but—damn!—just imagine what the world would have lost if he’d given up. Whitehead has published 8 books since 1999, won a zillion awards (including the National Book Award, Guggenheim, MacArthur AND a Pulitzer) and has even been a #1 NY Times Bestseller author. Talk about possibility!
By now, it’s probably pretty clear that I’m trying to encourage you to stick with your book. I don’t want you to give up! And I sure as hell don’t want you sitting around waiting for someone out there to give you permission to publish your book.
Take back your power instead. Whether you choose to publish with a traditional publisher or do it yourself, this is your book. Which means YOU get to be in the driver’s seat. You get to decide what’s right for you.
So don’t wait another day for someone else to give you permission. Get started instead, my dear. Take one step forward, then another.
Trust yourself. You’ll get there.
P.S.: If you’re ready to get started, c’mon over and join us for our fabulous 5-week online course How to Get Your Book into the World. Remember to register by Tuesday, January 23 (midnight MST) to get 20% OFF your tuition. Just use the following Coupon Code when you check out:
YouRock (for those choosing the one-time payment) OR
YouRock3 (for those choosing the 3-month-payment plan)
Here’s what Jennifer had to say after she took the course this past fall:
My book has sat on a shelf for literally years. Tanja has given me the support, confidence and, especially, the information I need to get it out into the world. From deciding how I want to publish to estimates to networking with professionals in the publishing world, the course has helped incredibly! –Jennifer Hinton
IF this is right for you, IF you feel a yearning in your soul, IF you’re tired of putting your book on the back burner for one more day, join us! It’ll be so much fun, I promise. Click here or copy and paste this url into a new browser.
I can’t wait to see you on the inside!
P.P.S.: If you’re still on the fence, click here to watch this video I made for you: Three Things You Need to Get Clear on Before You Write Your Book. Even if you’re just starting off, this video will be uber-helpful to you–I promise! Plus, it’s chock-full of information you can use today. And it’ll help you lay the foundation for the book you do decide to write one day.
Here’s that direct link: https://vimeo.com/251380419
Whatever you do, my dear, write. Follow your dreams, whatever they are.
It’s YOUR life.