Why It's Important to Never, Ever Give Up: Authors Who Were Repeatedly Rejected

Once, while at a slavery museum in my region, I saw a picture of a horribly abused man, a runaway slave, who’d been whipped so brutally that the skin on his back was pigmented into one massive grayish whelp. The image stuck with me, haunted me, but what reverberates in my memory, was the Churchill quote accompanying the image:

“The 11th Commandment- Never, never, never give up.”

The twin images of those words and that graphic black and white picture had a part in my decision to become a Pollyanna, a perpetual optimist. I try, perhaps sometimes to my detriment, to always stay positive, and I hope that particular tenet is something I pass along to those willing to listen to my annoying “you can do anything” preaching. Simply put, “give up” isn’t in my vocabulary. And, it seems, neither was it a part of the following’s prime directives.

As writers, we’ve all heard the same consistent diatribe: being published is like winning the lottery; it only happens to the lucky. I don’t prescribe to that particular negative (purported) truism. I believe, like the following, that if it has to be someone, why not me? As readers, you may be interested to know that many of our most beloved writers were Pollyannas as well. They simply refused to give up. They were rejected repeatedly, for years, but, lucky for us, they kept at it.

So, LitStackers, during this time of renewal and resolution, here is the hope of those that came before us, with the idea that the only certain failures come when we refuse to try. Or, to quote a wise and noble Jedi, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

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7 thoughts on “Why It's Important to Never, Ever Give Up: Authors Who Were Repeatedly Rejected

  1. Fantastic post, Tee. Just what everyone needs to get inspired toward their 2012 goals!

  2. Yes, a timely post. I think James Lee Burke's Lost Get Back Boogie saw 111 rejections. I keep whining anyway and sending out some more.

  3. While speaking at writers' conferences, I hold up one of my novels, THE FOUR ARROWS FE-AS-KO. I tell them this book was sold on the 45th submission. And in the 20 years since that book came out, it has been filmed by Sullivan Entertainment as PROMISE THE MOON, is still in hardcover print, and has recently been released as an audio book. Then I ask, "What if I had given up at 44 rejections?"

  4. Great post, Tee! Very inspiring. Thanks. I especially love the L'Engle quote. I'm an optimist, too. About that museum — don't thgink I can go there. Not that it isn't important, so we never forget, but I'd lose sleep like forever.

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