Do we all know about this? I feel like everyone knows about everything except me and I am the last to know absolutely anything and the idea that I am or was ever a journalist – like, first to the story? – is a fucking joke.
(Although I did once know a news reporter on the Standard who was a good reporter but generally in life was so incredibly slow and thick it was really weird. He once asked me how a chip and pin machine worked when they were, you know, really quite widespread.)
Anyway this 100 rejections thing came to me via Annie Kelly, from whom I get most of my information now I’m not on Twitter any more. We were sitting about complaining about freelance life and creativity and whatever and she said “Do you know the thing about 100 rejections?”
And I went “No but that sounds like my daily life,”
And she said “It’s this thing, this philosophy, where you need to aim to get as many rejections as possible because if you’re not getting rejections, you’re not putting yourself out there and if you’re not putting yourself out there, you will never get anywhere.”
Honestly it has changed my life. Okay not my life but it has changed my attitude to some stuff. I wrote a children’s picture book about two weeks ago, (the idea came to me at 5am, like Kubla Khan), and I drew it all out with stick men and stapled together a dummy copy and sent it off to an agent – and it got rejected.
So that’s one. I am going to see if I can get it rejected by every single children’s book agent in the UK by the start of the summer holidays.
How about you? How many rejections are you aiming for this year?
100 sounds like a good target 🙂
Similarly, I once had a grievance taken out against me by a member of staff when I insisted that the fact his trousers for work were not dry enough to wear was not a good enough reason tor him to have a morning off work. I said he had to use half a days leave.
When I got home after being told the trades union were taking forward his grievance I was in a bit of a state about it. My OH told me not to worry as having a grievance taken out against me proved I was being a manager and that those who never face one are probably just a soft touch and not carrying out their managerial role.
The grievance was dropped.
Love this story x
Wise Annie! I think we all get sucked into believing these stories about wunderkinds who get picked up after their first audition/submission/tiddlywinks team trials when either it’s not true and they’re keeping schtum about the hours and hours of work they’ve put in (like the class brainbox who cries before going into the exam room that they haven’t done enough revising and sails into August with 12 A* grades) or they’re just very very lucky bastards.
Was the rejection encouraging or standard? Quite often, agents don’t even reject you; they just ignore you and your follow-up email so getting a rejection in itself is still something of an achievement.
I suspect that you will fail in your ambition to get it rejected by by every children’s agent in the UK by the start of the summer holidays as someone will express an interest and then you will have failed at failure too!
It’s Easter and I’m on 4 rejections. Only another 96 to go! I intend to turn competitive rejection chasing into my new hobby.
On my MBA course, they said if you’re not made redundant a couple of times, you’re not doing your job properly…
Sheila Birch says
Dearest god in heaven…..what a load of cockin bullshit.. the poor kids who’s mothers paste all over face book of how proud of them they are for…’coming third in 100 mts. passing their exams (no results shown) winning the village fancy dress comp. finding the most scarecrows in the village….my husband for actually putting his dirty underpants IN the laundry basket not at the side, on top, in the bath. FFS! How will they ever cope with rejection? Rejection is a part of growing up and learning to deal with it is satisfying …bollocks Esther, how many agents turned JK down? keep writing keep blogging your entertainment value is priceless.
I sometime get negative responses on my facebook page, I do ramble a bit but most find me funny. this is indirectly a rejection… so hey I just block them. fuck off!
This is similar to something I’ve just started thinking about in relation to job hunting. I tended to only apply to jobs where I fit the exact criteria, and then not getting it is hard to take because if I can’t do that what can I do? Having talked to some other people this seems to be something that women do more and the men I spoke to took a more flexible attitude to “essential” on the description and were more likely to take a flier on stuff they couldn’t do *yet*, confident they’d pick it up on the job. It’s also easier to brush off those rejections and move on to the next because hey it wasn’t quite the right fit anyway, but you’re out there doing it. Someone I know didn’t get the job he went for, but then was remembered a month or two later when a different one came up he was more suited for and was called up. Good luck with the children’s book. I’ve been making up stories about a character for my kids for years and my son says periodically he thinks I should put them in a proper book but I’ve always said they were a bit weird and probably wouldn’t make a good book, but this has inspired me to maybe write it down and get it rejected.
Angela O'Donovan says
You’re so right about having all the skills, etc
A friend of mine applied for a job near home she felt would change her lifestyle as a mother. She confessed to not having all but would pick up easily and also told me she does a good interview. She amazed me, not the most confident person I know but very honest and sincere!
Yes it was after speaking to a friend who was unsure about applying for something and I found myself giving her advice I’ve never followed myself. After all, no one goes for a job just to stand still, it’s for a stretch or different challenge or to fulfil some as yet unrealised potential. The first comment was by me, by the way, I don’t know why it came up anonymous, I actually thought it had been deleted until I saw it and it seemed familiar.
A Reader says
Last year I did the rejections thing and got about 50+ rejections–and one acceptance to a freelance thing which was rather different from what I thought I wanted, which ended up changing my perspective and leading me down a much better path. I realised that what I had been applying for was far too junior, so now I have found a mentor and started my own business.
Because I’m a novice I built a spreadsheet to document all of my acceptances.
I now have an excellent spreadsheet with a long list of people who’ve ignored me 😂
I work in children’s publishing and think you would write brilliant middle grade in particular…my fingers are tightly crossed! Also, as a freelancer and reluctant pitcher of my own skills, this sounds like a great way of thinking.
I’m not totally sure what middle grade is, but this one is for the under-5s… xxx
also, thank you very much for such kinds words x
This post is everything. Thank you. My life’s mission.
Full stop relate to this post! I’m a novelist and I’ve been buried in the slush pile for, So Many Years! finally I said, fuck it! Started publishing on my own. Before I hit not 100 rejections but more like 500 I didn’t think self pub was for me, but let me tell you I have so much more freedom as an artist this way! It just took everyone telling me no until I realized that I could wallow and quit or be my own boss. It’s amazing!
As my 8 year old used to say in a regular basis – if you try to fail and you do- are you a success or failure?
Well idI kind of given up at 5 rejections last year…I should stick at it!!! It’s always good to hear you are not alone!