Hump-Day Help: Rejection isn’t Failure


MW PicRejection sucks. There is no doubt about it. And people tell you to not have a thin skin and move on…but for some that’s really hard. I started auditioning for shows at the age of 11. If I were to count all the shows I didn’t get cast in between then and when I hung my theatre hat up for awhile, we’d be here all day. And I’ll let you in on a secret, there were times I cried over not being cast…and I’m talking as a young adult, not when I was 11. It’s your passion and you want to be good at it, so to be told you don’t fit what they want for a show, it crushes you.

But here’s the thing…I auditioned for the next thing and the next and the next, and you know what? I started getting cast more. Part of that came from doing shows in really small roles (I was a singing flower in a Christmastime play where I only stuck my face through a hole in a fake wall and sang…) to get to be seen by and work with more people (some of being cast is being great to work with and a director knowing that) to build up my experience. Thing is, I pushed forward with a, “Oh, you don’t think I’m good enough for your show…well watch how I will be next time!” And I picked myself up and I auditioned again, took classes, watched great actors do their thing…etc.

I’m sure you already see where I’m going with this…but stick with me…

With writing, we have to work the same way. Mind you, you’ll get more rejections than an actor does (depending on how talented they are, how often they audition, and how often you submit work) because you’re sending out the same thing to many people looking to give it a nice home. But rejection does NOT make you a failure. Here, let’s say this out loud…


Make that thing you motto! Type it up and paste it around your home…

No…wait…it’s missing a section…

Let’s try this again…we’ll say THIS out loud:


I fell in love with this article/video the other day on Facebook and I talked about it at my Birthday brunch last weekend. You can watch it HERE. It’s the CEO of the Spanx company talking about how her father taught her and her brother about failure…and it’s brilliant. Watch it if you have not done so yet.

And no, you didn’t grow up learning this way (or maybe you did and 3 cheers for your parents!) but you can learn new tricks. You’re never too old. Not for changing careers, not for changing where you want to live, not for changing how you look at life…NOT…TOO…OLD.

Great story:

A friend of mine I met at Dragon Con a few years ago wanted to be a writer. She came to Dragon and attended panels and started a blog reviewing books…and by the next year she was getting real traction with big names on it…but her writing was still her passion. It’s her 3rd years now and I just found out she has two short stories coming out! I am so excited for and proud of her! (and she’s likely reading this and knows it’s her and forgive me darlin’ for using you as a great example) The reason is because she has a hunger for what she wants. She keeps pushing, learning, toeing doors open, getting out there and submitting, and things are happening for her! Not as fast as she’d like (but nothing goes as fast as we like and nothing we want to go slow does that either…tis the way of the world, right?) But here’s the thing…she is making progress and that is because she is living by this example above…even if she doesn’t realize it.

If you don’t try you cannot succeed. To give up is to let others win. I don’t care if that “other” is a voice in your head saying “you can’t do this…you’re not good enough” vs. a real person in front of you or people online…for that voice inside has more sway than most anyone else and that’s something we have to learn to ignore. It’s fear talking. It’s exhaustion talking. In some ways you could say it’s the devil talking. It’s the negative side of you…and that side will get you nowhere. Women have this in excess. Men, you may not know this, but women have that voice all the time. Allison Armstrong teaches a class called Understanding Women and she speaks about our inner perfect woman…who has a comment/criticism for everything…others, ourselves, and she has high standards. Could be a result of estrogen…maybe when we lose some of that in age she’ll shut up more…cause SHE IS DESTRUCTIVE. And so is the devil on your shoulder who tells you to quit.

So try. Fail. Fall on your face! Learn from it, get back up, and flip that failure the bird with a kiss on top because the next time you go out and try, you’ll be better, stronger, and you won’t let anyone stop you from doing what you love. Just remember this…it’s important to love you for you…sales or no…you are more than just your books and we writers tend to write like we’re running out of time (and yes, that song in Hamilton hits me every time…if you don’t know it…HERE ya go!)…and maybe we are and maybe we’re not, but enjoy the journey, even the tears of defeat. For when those tears dry and you go sit back down at that keyboard, you just won a HUGE friggin’ battle!

Plus, it’s okay to wait for things and not WIN the lottery on day one…for when you finally get to where you’re going, it will have been earned and you’ll look back at each battle and know it had a purpose. And again, another Hamilton song comes to mind…I’ll leave you with it…HERE. By the end of this song I will have tears quite often more for how it speaks to me than the show, but that is the beauty of music, yes? Maybe it will speak to you too. Oh, and in case you’ve not heard this soundtrack to Hamilton or seen the show (yeah, I know tickets are near impossible), know that it’s not just history, the show is a love letter to writers (that is exactly what Lin-Manuel said in an interview, FYI) so I really can’t recommend it enough. 🙂

Anyway…before I go off on Hamilton tangents, or more than I already have…

That’s it for me this time around. I have a feeling someone needed this today or it wouldn’t have flowed out of my fingers so fast. So write hard, bathe in imagination, and FAIL…then get up and get back to work. You only loose if you do not try. Don’t let the negative voices win…they’ve not earned it!

Fave line from the song, The Battle of Yorktown in Hamilton that I feel applies right now to how I feel:

See, that’s what happens when you up against the ruffians
We in the shit now, somebody gotta shovel it!
Hercules Mulligan,
I need no introduction
When you knock me down I get the f*ck back up again!

Here’s to getting back up again! MW bio pic of me


Tamsin 🙂


Originally from Michigan, Tamsin L. Silver is the creator/writer of two YA Urban Fantasy Series, Windfire and The Sabrina Grayson Novels, as well as the Web Series, Skye of the Damned. She graduated from Winthrop University with a BA in Theatre/Secondary Education and a minor in Creative Writing/Shakespeare. She has taught both middle school and high school theatre and run two successful theater companies, one of which in the place she currently lives: New York City. You can learn more about her and find links to all her things



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