Much to my embarrassment, when I was thirteen, I tried to get a “book” published. In actuality it was a thirty page short story that I had written for a school assignment.
I know, I know. I was naive, crazy, and I figured if the story was good enough to get an A+ it must be good enough to publish, because that’s the way all books work, right? (At least this one actually had a plot, instead of the “Very Perfect Princess” I wrote in fourth grade). So, I emailed a publisher proposing the idea that they publish my “book.”
Unsurprisingly, they didn’t. Shocker, right? I think they were nice enough to say something along the lines of, “We’re not publishing that genre right now”, instead of, “Look here, little 13-year-old, we’re not publishing your book because a) it’s not long enough to be a book, b) it’s written by a 13-year-old who has no concept of grammar, and c) it’s boring, the title sucks, and it is very obviously written to be a school assignment.”
The point is, even as a semi-crazy 13-year-old, I wasn’t afraid of putting myself out there and getting rejected. I’m still not I believe that if you want something to happen badly enough, you need to try and make it happen. If you fail or get rejected in the process? Well at least you tried, and knew you did everything you could.
This is part of the reason I sent the initial email that got me writing for Babble. A lot of people ask me if Babble was looking for a teenage blogger — they weren’t (as far as I know, at least). Me? I had no experience blogging, nor did I have any experience writing anything which wasn’t for a school assignment.
Did I think I was good enough to blog for them? Hahaha, no. Did I think they would hire me? No. Did I hope they would hire me? Yes. Did I think I was crazy for reaching out to them and suggesting they hire me as a teenage blogger when it was a parenting site, and I was just a 17-year-old high school student with pretty bad grammar and the tendency to ramble and over-use metaphors? Definitely.
Nevertheless, the 99.9% chance that they wouldn’t hire me didn’t stop me. I figured the worst that would happen is they would laugh at my presumptuous email and blatant idiocy, and I wouldn’t hear back. Sure, the rejection would sting, but you never know until you put yourself out there.
To be honest, I still don’t know what prompted them to hire me, but if I had never sent that initial email? (Which, for a week afterwards I regretted sending, thinking they would report me to the police as a crazy teenager obviously stalking them, and I would get a restraining order put on me … I’m nothing if not dramatic) I would never have gotten this opportunity.
You can’t be afraid of being rejected, because people aren’t going to hand you opportunities. While we all know “a dream is a wish your heart makes,” there isn’t a Fairy Godmother in real life, just waiting to hand you everything you want neatly wrapped with a bow on top. The only Fairy Godmother you have, is you — go out and seek those opportunities you want. Do everything you can to achieve your goals and your dreams, and if, at the end of the day, you’re not successful? At least you know you did every little thing possible — you weren’t passive, and you weren’t scared to fight and go after your dreams.
Failure and rejection do have their benefits, though. Believe me when I say that failure and I got extremely close in school — for about five years, I failed — Every. Single. Math Test. (Unless they included money, because I’m nothing if not that child that sat every night counting her money like a baby Scrooge and charging people interest if they were stupid enough to borrow money off me).
Just recently, I failed my driving test — twice. And last year, I felt like I had failed AP English, because everyone (and this isn’t just me being dramatic, I literally mean everyone) else got As and A+s, and for the whole of the year, I got nothing except for a B, which, in AP English, is pretty much a fail. That one stung the most, because I had a long-standing battle with my school to let me do that class, because they didn’t think I was good enough to be in it. Failing was pretty much proving them right, but hey, like I said before, failing is something that happens to the best of us. As it it turns out, I’m not very good at applying literary theories, but that’s life.
Failure and rejection hurts, but it isn’t something we’re going to go through life without experiencing. One of my favorite quotes ever is from the movie A Cinderella Story. Written on the walls of the diner in the movie, are the words, “Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.” It’s so true — you can’t let the fear of failing or being rejected keep you from pursuing your goal, or your dream.