I reached this stage a couple of years back when I was scouting for publishers all over the country to get my first book published. Ten rejections and a year later I almost gave up. Down but definitely not capitulated, I continued sending out my unsolicited manuscript. Nothing happened. Some publishers were kind enough to reply back with a polite refusal pinning it on the reason that the book doesn’t fit their publishing schedule, while others didn’t bother replying at all.
Those days I would devour self-help books. In one of them I read Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times to invent the light bulb. TEN THOUSAND TIMES! That was a huge number. I revered the perseverance of the man. He was so passionate, so driven, so focused that failure had completely stopped mattering to him. All he wanted was to invent a bulb. When asked about his failures he would placidly reiterate that: “I haven’t failed, I have learnt 10000 ways how not to invent a light bulb.”
That article made a huge impact on me, a life-altering one. He failed 10000 times – damn! – I’d failed just under fifteen times now. FIFTEEN – that wasn’t even a number! I knew it then I had a long way to go, a lot more to fail, and a lot more to learn. It was a place of bliss – nothing mattered here. Now, whenever I got a rejection, I took it in the right spirit attributing it to a lesson taught by life.
Failure, I learnt then, while gleaning through various self-help books is instrumental in attaining success. No great success has ever been achieved without failure. Now instead of fretting and getting dissuaded by rejection, I utilized the time and energy to learn my craft. I spent hours and hours improving my writing, my story, and its presentation. To my surprise, I found so many mistakes. I re-worked on the entire book. When I was done I sent it out to publishers again. Still nothing. I worked on my craft harder clear in my mind that failure is temporary, that I wouldn’t fail till I continue to fail. I would fail when I quit.
Few months later the unwavering resolve of not to be affected by failure paid off. A publisher finally took interest in my book and wanted to publish it. After minuscule editing the deal finally went through and my first book “When life tricked me” was published. Much to my delight it became a bestseller a year later. The joy was immense and completely overwhelming. I penned down two more books after that in successive years.
Now when I look back at my struggling years I admit it unflinchingly that failure changed my life completely. Not only did it help me improving my craft, creating exciting characters, or begetting a methodical plot development, I learnt the nitty-gritty of the publishing world including but not limited to writing a perfect synopsis, sending professional submission letters, the role of literary agents, and the ilk.
Failure was epiphany. I always thought I knew enough about writing and the publishing industry. I was so wrong. Failure made me realize that. Now I’m a big fan of failure. Only failure can help edify our dream, enlighten us throughout the journey, and help us achieve a much greater success than we ever thought possible.