Thursday, 19 April 2018

Misfit Toys

The island of misfit toys was filled with rejects but it seemed like the best place to be when I was a kid. They had a lot of fun and that's where all the interesting characters were. Also, by the end each one found a home (a place where they were accepted 'as is').

Often what we see on social media are tales of success, not what it takes to get there (I have been guilty of curating my presence in this way). As a result, sometimes it can seem like any failings are happening in a vacuum.

Einstein is quoted as saying, "If you're not making mistakes, you're not trying." I like to make it my own by changing it to, "If I'm not experiencing rejection, I'm not pushing."

On that note here is an email I received this morning:

Dear Ms. Neal,

Thank you for sending your graphic novel idea to                             for consideration. I apologize for taking so long to respond. It was only recently forwarded to me to review. I enjoyed reading the sample you sent. You have an interesting premise, are a good writer, and I can tell that the story is one you are very passionate about. 

Unfortunately, though, we don't feel that it's quite right for our list. But please keep in mind that while                                 does not suit our present needs, it may well be of interest to another publisher.

I wish you much success in finding the right home for your story.


Rejection is often equated with failure, but I believe we can train ourselves to use it to our advantage.

When rejection happens, which it so often does, I see it as part of the process of growing and honing my voice and a great opportunity to revisit / improve my work.

Side note: Ben Affleck & Matt Damon were unsuccessful writers for a decade before Good Will Hunting  was made.

Here's how I have trained myself to think when these rejections arrive in my inbox (and/or M&J's) - and many do because I/we put a lot out into the world...

I remind myself that:

-my chances of success increase with my chances of failure (the more shots you take the more likely you are to score a goal)
-this is all part of the journey
-it's good to look at 'why' it wasn't currently the right fit and apply any feedback 
-now is the time to consider putting the project aside for a while 

Over the years I've naturally become inoculated to the flurry's of yes's & no's because there have been so many but every so often there is still one that stings. In those cases, if the above doesn't work, I remind myself that the 35th greatest screenplay of all time (according to the Writer's Guild of America), The Usual Suspects was rejected numerous times due to its 'non-linear plotline' and had nine different drafts. And in the end Bryan Singer only got $6 million to make it. And it turned out to be a GREAT movie!

We all face rejection of some kind in life. My hope is that you can use this post as a reminder that the more you get, the more likely you are to receive success.


*M, What a brave post. I have the following written above where I track my rejections, 'Remember all the rejection the Greats have faced,' ... Onwards!  -J

No comments

Post a Comment

© M&J
Maira Gall