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  • Susan Wagner

Failure is a Four Letter Word

Updated: Jul 5

Metaphorically – yeah. It’s four.


We are shaped by a society that teaches us that rejections are somehow all our fault. That, if we were only good enough, we would never be rejected, never fail. So not true.


We fail tests, we fail our parents, our spouses and kids, our bosses – we fail to get medical treatment. We fail to get our films produced, to get our novel published, to get our songs played and our poems put on subway cars. We fail.


But we don’t. That’s the thing. What we get is rejected -- which is not failure. Failure would be never writing the films, books, songs and poems. Failure is not letting ourselves do the writing that’s important to us. Whatever that may be. So it’s a little too Hallmark. Sue me.


Rejection is something else. It’s like always trying to hurry across ice. You’re going to fall. It’s as inevitable, like taxes or bad haircuts. All the studying of markets, all the advice of fellow writers, all the revisions – none of it prepares you for that tightening of the gut when you open the letter or email and read the rejection of your work.


So -- what do you do?


You remind yourself that millions of words are written every year. Millions. You will never be the only person getting rejected. Never.


Don't waste your time lamenting that you’re a failure. You may need a little therapy or a Xanax to get your through those leftover childhood issues but that’s normal. No judgment. Strike out the word failure like it's the four-letter word your horrified mother heard you say in front of the preacher on Sunday. No comments please. I’ve got my own childhood issues.


Strike out failure. In fact, strike out rejection. It's one editor taking a pass on your work. Remember millions of words get passed over. Millions of words get published every year. Somewhere in those millions you will find a home. Get going.



#pass not fail #fearless writing #publish

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