Time for a bit of Churchhill (the wartime leader, not the dog with the wobbly head that sells insurance)…
‘Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.’ Winston Churchill
This bit is very apt for me at the moment. Remember that writing workshop I recently applied for a place on? Yup, nada, zilch, niks nie. That’s how the dice roll and just like the Global Literati Writing Award, 2016 I was judged to be ‘not suitable at this stage’ – ie the judges thought my story was crap.
So anyway, I’ve stopped sulking now and I’ve moved on. Again, the experience of working up the guts to enter, the process of applying, and the forced humility of knowing that you aren’t good enough (again!) has all been taken in. What am I going to do about it? Well, for a start I’m still going to finish rewriting my little novella into my first pukka novel. I have a bit of emotional fuel that needs burning off, so why not use it here?
‘If you’re going through hell, keep going.’ Winston Churchill
This quote follows on from the first one: Just like the last 10 miles of the Hardmoors 60 miler when my legs had stopped working, and my willpower had evaporated, a good man helped me along my way and (after he gave me some very strong painkillers) told me ‘We aren’t DNFing – not tonight mate,’ now is not the time for quitting. But this is precisely the time for running through the pain – head down, keep on moving forwards.
‘Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.’ Winston Churchill
Last quote, same thing – don’t ever give up! No matter how overwhelming the scenario, no matter how smashed up you are, inside or out, if you stop running then you won’t want to start again. Stumbling is fine – everyone trips up now and again. But bad patches are dangerous, and you need to pull yourself together quickly, before you start to lose your belief.
Just like when Anthony Joshua got put on his arse by Wladimir Klitschko in the 6th round of their heavyweight title bout on Saturday. It was the first time Joshua had been dropped in his professional career and he could have been in big trouble. A lesser man would have been. And yet he got back on his feet and lasted another five rounds to win a technical knockout in the eleventh round. Inspiring stuff.
What’s any of that got to do with writing? Rejection is par for the course for writers and other creatives. But you can’t ever forget that dream that you have. Maybe you just didn’t want it badly enough beforehand? Maybe you need this extra push to go over the hill? As Peter Jones, the Dragon’s Den Uk entrepreneur puts it:
‘Failure is feedback.’ Peter Jones
Well, as in all things in life, you need to take the big hits and learn from them. Just like the All Blacks rugby union team – enjoy your victories, sure. But don’t you ever forget your mistakes.