On Rejections —

13 May

I’ve been down-sizing this year. Or trying to. About 75% of my ‘stuff’ doesn’t serve any very good purpose other than taking up space, so I’m getting rid of it. The paper recyclers should love me! The other night I found two great notions in one box. Since they’re related, it dawned on me that if I combined them, they’d make a good blog post.  The first part is from a newsletter I did for a local writer’s group; the latter is a sort of motivational poster. So here we go . . .

Dream isn’t synonymous with Goal, but you can’t really accomplish one without having the other.

Some years ago, I visited our local School of the Arts at the beginning of the school year. It’s a magnet school with not only an exceptionally high attendance and graduation record, but also the percentage of students who go on to college after graduation.

One student was discussing his project, which I thought was pretty good, but neither he nor his teacher agreed with me. He smiled at me as he said, “By time this semester is over, I’ll do better.” He went on to specify a goal. His eagerness and sincerity brought a smile to my face.

I told him, “You’ll do it, I know. Having a goal is the first step toward attaining it. After all, you can’t get there, if you don’t know where ‘there’ is.” Both the teacher and the student just looked at me, then both broke out in grins. The teacher reached over and grabbed my hand to shake it. “That’s terrific!” she said. “I’ve never heard that saying before. Do you mind if I use it in my class?” Of course, I didn’t mind.

But, to be sure, you’ll never achieve your dream or your goal if you don’t know what or where it is. You may fail a couple of times as you head for that goal, but eventually, if you’re willing to put the necessary time and effort into it, you’ll get there.

Another paragraph mentioned the famous author Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, among hundreds of other tales), was quoted as saying “I get rejection slips every week of my life.” The author, 77 at the time, said, “I’ve published 35 stories in Playboy Magazine, but in recent years they’ve rejected eight short stories. And the New Yorker rejects every time I submit.” He then said, “I plan to write at least until I’m 99. Then God can hit me with a baseball bat.” Sadly, he didn’t make it quite that long, as he died in 2012, 2½ months shy of 92.

Don’t Be Afraid To Fail

You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember.

You fell down the first time you tried to walk.

You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you?

Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat?

Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot.

R. H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.

English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he went on to publish 564 books.

Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs.

Don’t worry about failure.

Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.


One box contained a folder of rejection letters I’ve received in the past 30 years or so. I did NOT throw them away. I keep them as a reminder – whenever I need a nudge in the right direction!


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