Wednesday 18 November 2020

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett

 I read these words on someone's blog yesterday, and I thought I'd tuck them away for a friend who is currently getting a great book idea (with a really great title) out to publishers. His first knock back hurt and it took a few days to recover but he was proud that he finally shot it out to another agent. (I'm his cheer squad - or perhaps annoying, pushy person that keeps hassling him, but whatever).

I had recently written a story for the 8-11 year old market, purely because I never had. I found out yesterday I didn't make the list of 20 finalists and had that pang of disappointment we know so well. However, this time was different. After about 10 minutes, I thought of those words of Beckett, you know, the author who was originally published in two different languages (and translated into many more). And I felt fine. I immediately sent the story off elsewhere for it is a good little story though possibly not connecting with that age market, as I'm a little unsure of what I'm actually doing there.

In Ali Wong's book, Dear Girls, she talks about being prepared to bomb. She advocates you will learn more by going in front of crowd of strangers who don't care about you and react in truth, than in a class where the audience is other comedians and their loved ones and want to be kind.  I think that's the trick. It doesn't matter if you get rejected a million times, as long as you learn a little from it (preferably in the form of actual feedback, so you aren't guessing what went wrong). I hope I can keep this ease of rejection as the new normal level of emotional reaction.

I am aware the Beckett poem is not actually as motivational as it gets bandied about as, but if having your work still performed and enduring 70 years later as well as winning the Nobel Prize for Literature is failure, I'll happily take it.

So this week I'm loving cheerful optimism in the face of rejection (delusional optimism perhaps? No matter).

What are you loving this week?

Linking with #WritersDen

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


  1. Hubby has a saying... You can't say you failed until you try 10,000 times. Hang in there.

    Have a fabulous day, Lydia. ♥

  2. Good luck to your friend and good luck to you! How fabulous to have written something in the first place, and from what I've heard the path to authorship is full of rejections and failures and hopefully feedback and loads of learning and eventual success. Good for you for giving it a crack. It's still just a little pipe dream in the back of my head for me! lol

  3. Hi Lydia - this reminded me of a quote I saw the other day that said "You can only grow if you're willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new." I think trying, failing, feeling awkward etc are all things we like to avoid - but they're how we grow and they teach us so much about ourselves. Good luck to your friend (and to yourself) as you work out how to conquer the publishing world.

  4. I actually entered something earlier this week. I'm not expecting to do very well and it will be a while before I hear something but I'm glad not to just see competition due dates come and go and not do anything about it.

    So well done to you for entering.

  5. Well done to your friend, and to you putting yourself out there! As someone who has also been there, I know exactly what you mean about that first turn down of a manuscript. It's so hard. But there's so much to learn from it, and all we can do is keep trying to shoot to the moon. Because one day, when you really don't expect it, you'll get there. Thank you so much for joining us for this weeks #DreamTeamLinky and sharing your experience and also this fab quote.

  6. Our family saying is 'Never backwards, always forwards' which helps us through many disappointments and changes. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

  7. This really resonates with me at the moment. thank you for the reminder #kcacols

  8. Always a hard but valuable lesson and you often hear the the most successful people are the ones that kept trying #KCACOLS

  9. Good luck with your entry! We also need to prepare our children for knock backs and disappointments to build resilience xx #KCACOLS