WANA Peeps — Piper, James, and Kristen

Wednesday I posted some highlights from the DFW Writer’s Conference I attended last weekend but there’s one bit of wisdom that I forgot to mention. I remembered it this morning in the midst of my meditation. Funny the things that come to us when we just take the time to be still.

In his keynote speech, James Rollins told of his journey toward becoming a successfully published author. Like many of us, he started out in a different profession. Choosing veterinary medicine over becoming a writer because it was the “practical” thing to do. For years he prospered as a vet, owning his own clinic until one day he decided to revisit his childhood dream and began writing.

Once he completed his first book, Subterranean, it took hearing 49 no’s, and being told it was unpublishable, until an agent finally said yes.

I know I said this on Wednesday but it bears repeating since so many creative professionals get defeated by rejection.

The book that launched his career is the same book that got rejected dozens of times and was deemed unpublishable. What if he’d given up after the 47th, 48th or even 49th submission? What if he’d allowed rejection to beat him down and shrug off ever having a career as a writer? What if he’d believed it was unpublishable and let that stop him from ever writing another word?

He would have let others dictate his life for him and may never have realized his dream of being a published author. The dream that was destined for him, but would’ve never been realized had he given up prematurely.

Prematurely? 49 query letters is an awful lot. Who would’ve blamed him if he’d given up.

Yeah. But that’s the difference in someone who’s a hobbyist and someone who’s a professional. A professional is someone who sees the project through. A professional is someone who is so committed that defeat isn’t even a part of their vocabulary. A professional is a finisher and believes so strongly in their work that nothing will stop them from getting their message out.

And really, that’s what it all comes down to. Belief. If we don’t believe in our work, why would anyone else?

Many artists moan and groan for not being respected. For not being taken seriously but if we’re not respecting our work and taking ourselvesΒ seriously, how can we expect anyone else to?

So what is it you believe? Do you believe that your message has a place in this world and if you work long and hard enough it will be seen and heard?Β How have you handled rejection in your career? Has it always propelled you forward or did it ever lead you astray?