Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year's Resolution - For Writers

It's January 1st, and I can guess what you have resolved for 2014, because every writer makes the same New Year's resolutions.

I will finish my novel

I will start my novel

I will write more/better/faster

I will find an agent

I will get published

... and so on

Chances are, you will make the same resolutions next year. And they will be equally as futile.

The problem is that you are setting your sights too low. If you are going to make a resolution, make it big.

This is my New Year's Resolution:

This year I will get more rejections than C. S. Lewis.
(Click here if you don't know how many rejections he received.)

The reason I have chosen this for my resolution is that I can't get rejections if I don't send queries, and the number of queries I send reflects how committed I really am. (Of course, I can't send queries if I haven't finished my project. And I can't finish my project if I don't work on it every day. That goes without saying.)

The point is, if you aim for getting rejected more times than, say, F. Scott Fitzgerald, you just may end up writing The Great Gatsby.

And if C.S. Lewis and F. Scott Fitzgerald don't inspire you, try these rejections on for size:

Lord of the Flies by William Golding - 'an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.'

Gertrude Stein - 'I cannot read your M.S. three or four times. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one.'

Rudyard Kipling - 'I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language.'

And, my personal favorite:

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum - 'unreadable'

These authors didn't quit, and neither should you. But, you can't quit if you don't start. So, join me this year.

Let's get rejected 800 times.


  1. Great advice, we should all pick ourselves up, dust off, and keep trying. It's the only road leading to success.

  2. Awesome advice. If a writer isn't submitting their manuscripts, they aren't working. And a writer that isn't working is just a person who wants to be a writer. Let's stop the madness! Pick up that pen, turn on that computer. Write. Write. And write some more.

  3. Very inspiring article for the aspiring author. Persistence is key. However, some agents might not appreciate the influx of query letters, but I do see your point. Trying is what matters, and sooner or later such determination will pay off.


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