The Women’s World Cup is on in Australia, so I wanted to talk about: How Writing Is Like An Elite Sport

Friday, July 21, 2023

I grew up watching my uncle and brothers play soccer, and I even played some soccer myself. I married a man who played soccer and now I have two kids who play - you guessed it - soccer. But it wasn’t until my kids got serious about soccer that I realised my writing rejections were teaching me some important lessons.
Because rejections are universal. 

No matter where, how or why they come, when rejections hit, they land like a punch, and the only way to condition yourself for them is to learn how to take some punches. 


Entering the ring is a writer who’s been submitting her work - heart-and-soul-on-the-page pieces - for over a decade. 

And I’ve received countless rejections! 

There have been times when rejections have got me down, there have been times when rejections have encouraged me, and there have been times when rejections have frustrated me, but I've never let them stop me from believing in myself and loving what I do. 

So here are my top tips for overcoming adversity in life. Whether you’re a writer, athlete or anything in-between - rejections can hurt, but don’t let them harm you: 

Love the journey
A few years ago, when I was drowning in rejection, I asked myself why I was writing. If I never got anything published, would I still write? And the answer was yes! That resounding yes liberated me because I realised that I don’t write for the glory; I write because I love it. 

Sometimes it’s a numbers game
It’s not always about your ability or what you create. Sometimes there’s just no spots. Don’t give up, you got this far and soon your number will be called! Don’t take any rejections as a not ever, think of them as a not now. 

There’s more luck involved than you think, and opinions vary
What one person loves about you, another won't. But it’s important to remember that, in the same way, art is subjective; we all have individual opinions on everything we consume, observe, and critique. So be grateful when someone believes in you and don’t be deterred when someone doesn’t. It’s just one opinion. Focus on the positives. 

Rejections make you stronger
Rejection is like a test. The worst one I ever got made me sad, mad and then it motivated me to reach out and hire an editor: WOW!'s very own Margo Dill from Editor 911. And Margo answered my call, helping me to take action and improve. That rejection made me realise just how strongly I felt about my manuscript and that I was ready to invest in making it better! 

Keep dreaming
Sometimes you get so close and you know you deserve that yes, but you still get a no. This is the hardest type of rejection to take, but it is not the time to stop dreaming. When you face that last hurdle and you can't clear it, don't stop running. Your race continues if you have the determination to try again. Put your head down and keep working.

So let rejections test you, they sort the weak from the determined. 

Swallow those unkind rejections, they’ll help you identify what you need to improve. 

Let rejections encourage you to work. 

Allow rejections to make you so hungry you become unstoppable. 

And even though everyone isn’t going to love you, believe in yourself. 

Hard work pays off! 

In "The Importance of Consistency" chapter of What Makes a Matilda, there's a great quote: "Talent and luck can play a big part in becoming a professional footballer, but something every Matilda knows is that a huge part of any athlete's success is training and consistency."

Go Matildas! And go team USA, FIFA ranked #1!

Kelly Sgroi is based in Melbourne, Australia. Now represented by Beyond Words Literary Agency, Kelly is thrilled to be out of the query trenches and looking forward to what comes next in her writing journey. She's also a content writer and an enthusiastic member of the writing community. Some of her short works are published by WOW! Women on Writing, Dream Journal, The Endometriosis Foundation of America, Endometriosis Australia, and a few Medium publications. Her debut manuscript is a women’s fiction story about motherhood.


Angela Mackintosh said...

Woo-hoo, Women's World Cup! Did you see that penalty shot save by Nigeria's goalkeeper? Amazing.

Fantastic advice, Kelly! Loving the journey is so important, and I believe rejections do make you stronger and a better writer. Great quote! Training and consistency are key!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Why are you doing this? That's definitely an important question. And we are so glad that you love the journey and are sticking with it. Great post!

Renee Roberson said...

I continue to write because it is a part of my soul, too. I would be lost without it. I agree, like an athlete, we have to continue to train and be consistent with our writing. We can only improve if we do that. You have done such a great job writing, producing, and building up a great platform, Kelly. Keep your eye on the prize (or prizes)!

Kelly Sgroi said...

Ang: How great is it? Oh yeah, there have been some amazing saves. The Costa Rica goalkeeper was great too!
Totally agree, it's all about the journey, hard work and consistency. Thanks so much for all your support!

Sue: It is so important to ask yourself why, thanks so much! I'm sticking with it for sure!

Renee: That's so beautiful to hear. I'm so glad you feel the same way and that we have such as amazing group to train with! Let's run all the way to the finish line together!

Angela Mackintosh said...

I saw that! Some really great saves. And just saw the first US game - dang, we're looking strong! Australia, too. :)

I agree with Renee, you've done an amazing job with writing multiple books, Kelly! Your hard work will pay off. I'm sure of it. :)

Kelly Sgroi said...

Yes, I think Sophia Smith is amazing! And thank you, I'm full of hope and determination!

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