Ever feel like a failure as a writer? (I often do.) Well, we’re in good company. Here’s a list of five famous authors that failed...and kept on writing:

1. STEPHEN KING – We’re all familiar with King’s first novel Carrie, but did you know after writing the first three pages of the book, he tossed them in the trash? (He believed he couldn’t write from a woman’s perspective.) His wife, Tabitha, found the crumpled pages, read them, and encouraged him to finish the story. This led to his first book deal...AFTER thirty rejections.

2. THEODOR GIESEL – The man we all know as “Dr. Seuss” had his own pile of rejection slips. His first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was turned town 27 times! Like King, he planned to trash the story, until one day he ran into an old friend that had just been promoted to editor of the children’s section at a publishing house...and the rest is history.

3. MARGARET ATWOOD – The prize-winning author spent her holiday holed up in a cabin trying to write a story that didn’t want to be written. She soon gave up on the novel and instead spent her time bird-watching and reading. But, inspired by her surroundings, she found herself weaving a completely different story...one that would become The Handmaid’s Tale.

4. J. R. R. TOLKIEN – The author’s publishers did not want to print the massive novel that is The Lord of the Rings (it was originally one book) for fear of losing money. After great debate, they broke the book down into a trilogy (against Tolkien‘s wishes). They printed 3,500 copies of The Fellowship of the Ring and it sold out in less than six weeks.

5. J. K. ROWLING – Not only was Britain’s best-selling author rejected “loads” after submitting her manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to various publishing houses, but she also received a rejection letter for The Cuckoo’s Calling under her pen name Robert Galbraith...and this was AFTER she’d written the best-selling book series of all time.

These examples prove that you mustn’t give up on your writing. Don’t focus on the now – how many books you’ve sold (or haven’t sold). This might not be the novel that does it for you. It might be the next or the one after that. The point is to keep going. Don’t let your past failures determine your future goals. Sometimes you have to go back and finish an old story you might have tossed aside like Stephen King. And sometimes you need to put away one idea and replace it with another like Margaret Atwood did. Be flexible in your writing...but whatever you do – KEEP WRITING!

-Red aka The Word Rebel


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5 Famous Writers Who Failed…and Kept Writing Anyway
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