What an Election in India Taught Me About Never Giving Up

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Somewhere in India - Pune, India, to be exact - a man is contesting a parliamentary seat. The most interesting thing about him? Well, he has lost 24 different elections. Yet hope is still alive because Vijayprakash Kondekar wants to become prime minister. How is that for an example about not giving up?

As a writer, when I saw this, I wondered about my stories waiting in the wings for acceptance. The ones I'm no longer as sure about anymore. If my story had been rejected 24 times would I give up? Or keep persisting? You see, in writing, it's not uncommon to face a lot of rejections. In fact, one article I read recently recommended aiming for 100 rejections a year (fun fact: I'm not even close to submitting that much).

Despite the rejections I have received (and those not yet to come) I know one thing - I'm better than I was and one day I will be better than I am today.

So after 24 rejections - or hundreds - what can you tell yourself? How do you lick those wounds? And aside from the fact that writing itself can be a form of masochism, how do we explain the need to continue on and keep trying?

Well, when I was a kid, I always said that I wanted to be an author when I grew up. Somewhere along the way, I promised myself that I wouldn't give up on that dream (or goal, as a mature write may call it). And with each rejection, each passing day where writing fails me, I tell myself that it's all about that promise to myself of not giving up.

What this man in India who has lost 24 times has taught me this - don't give up. If you believe in your cause (as this man believes in his cause), then you must continue. You see, each writer has a cause and that is to share their story with the world. And much like democracy, it isn't that simple nor is that easy to win (and we don't always "get" the ones that do). It's like our readers are a bit like voters. We don't always understand them and they don't always understand us. However, we must persist in trying to reach them.

So, as you sit down to write, and maybe even read another rejection letter, think of the Mr. Kondekar who walks around Pune, India with a signboard trying to convince people to vote for him. Sure, there are those who laugh but there are those - like me - who see the bigger picture. If you believe in yourself, you cannot give up.

Now go on, write. Revise. Get critiqued. Submit. Rinse and repeat. Write in spite of every rejection you've received. Prove the rejectors wrong. In fact, be deliriously determined. Aim to get the world record for rejection letters. Because you may surprise yourself. You may hear the "yes" you've been waiting on.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Nicole--Your post made me think of Emily Dickinson's poem about hope.

"Hope is the thing with feathers..."

Yes, we have to keep the embers of hope burning. Sometimes we have to blow on it gently, to make sure the fire doesn't go out.

Thanks for this post. It came at the perfect time for me...

Margo Dill said...

Have you ever seen the motivational stuff about Abraham Lincoln and how failure can lead to success? He had all kinds of failures and of course, you realize, he eventually won the highest position in the land. :) Your post reminded me of him immediately.

Nicole Pyles said...

@Sioux - Oh I love that poem of hers, it's what I need today! More feathers! I'm glad this post got you at the right timing. I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and needed to read this myself (had forgotten what it said).

@Margo - That's so true!! You can't succeed without trying and you can't try without experiencing failure I figure :)

Mary Horner said...

Nicole this is a great post. We always hear about success, but not always about the failures before the success. Thanks for the reminder!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

100 rejections a year? Wow. I'm behind. Not that I've heard YES 100 times but simply that I know I need to get more of my work out and about.

Renee Roberson said...

Ha ha! I'm also behind in that I'm over here fussing about 25+ rejections this year (but all for different projects) so I guess I should shut it. Thank you for a healthy dose of inspiration, Nicole!

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