Why It's Important to Build Your Failure and Rejection Muscles - Fast

Our second guest Buccaneer of the day is YA author Candace Ganger, whose debut novel THE INEVITABLE COLLISION OF BIRDIE + BASH is forthcoming from St. Martin's Press in 2017.


Why It's Important to Build Your Failure and Rejection Muscles - Fast

I’ve been writing (professionally) for a decade, dipping my hand in everything from ghostwriting to toy descriptions for companies and feasibility reports for investors (I know, right?!). I’m a diverse author with lots of tricks up my sleeve and feel confident in my ability to think outside the box and/or match the tone of an intended project. Through the years, I learned what works, where my voice fits, and how to differentiate between okay writing and DELETE EVERYTHING NOWWWW! However, there’s one thing that defines all my “wins” and you might not love it, but it’s critical in achieving all the feelings success can bring: FAILURE.

Ugh. I said it. I hate to be the bearer of news, but failing really is a good thing (please don’t throw things at me). It means you’re actually “living the dream,” as they say, and putting your work out there for public consumption, good and bad. If you think about it, this is courageous in and of itself because creating something is so very personal, it’s bound to receive criticism just as much as praise. Failure is also relative. What you may see as a huge fail might only be a blip on my radar, and vice versa. What comes of it is what matters most. Do you hear me?


In my early days of writing, I failed. A lot. All the time, really. And between you and me, I still do but now, I embrace it. I always want to be a better version of myself so failing is a gentle reminder I should work a little harder. You never want to get complacent because there’s always room for improvement. Fun, no. Humbling, yes. Everyone is different, but the longer I’m in this business, the more I hear about seasoned authors feeling the same ways I do, even after having massive success. Selfishly, this makes me feel sooooo much better when I’m having a writing day where everything is a dumpster fire.

Failing, sadly, is part of the process. It’s a reminder you’re not perfect but if you have the drive and tenacity to endure hardship and self-doubt, you can be the next J.K. Rowling or Neil Gaiman (and even they endured rejection and failure).

Some things to think about: Are your rejections saying similar things? Are there basic writing techniques you can work on? We’re all flawed, but if there is a common theme amongst the rejections, take a step back and decide how to be proactive. Read work from authors you admire. Listen to dialogue from real people. Snag headlines from the news and make them your own. Do whatever it takes to be the best writer you can be. Then, when failure and/or rejection strikes, it won’t sting so much.

If you think about it, would reaching the peak be as satisfying if you hadn’t ever fallen from the climb? Without scratches and battle scars and all the internal wounds that show what a warrior you really are, could you celebrate with the same intensity?

Probably not.

And if you’re doing all you can and still not where you want to be, use the rejections and failures. Use the crap out of them. Use them to wallpaper your house. Use them to wrap a present. Use them in any way that helps you see who’s in charge of your journey (hint: YOU).

Take those NO’s, re-focus your energy into writing something that makes you so joyous, you can’t see straight, revise until your fingers fall off, read, read a hundred times more. It’s okay to fail and it’s okay if someone doesn’t love your writing. It’s one of the most subjective businesses out there—it’s art. We aren’t all gaga for the same things. That’s the beauty! It means you can do you, unapologetically. That’s a freedom worth all the rejections in the universe because someone out there will love your words. It only takes one YES.

If you’re doing all the things necessary, I promise, it will happen. Just remember: by building failure and rejection muscles early, using failures to clarify your vision and determination, you’ll get there. And when you do, I’ll Tweet a cat picture to you, because CATS.

About the Author:

Candace Ganger is a Young Adult author, contributing writer for Hello Giggles, and obsessive marathoner. Her current novel, THE INEVITABLE COLLISION OF BIRDIE + BASH, will be out via St. Martin’s Press (Spring/Summer 2017). Aside from having past lives as a singer, nanotechnology website editor, and world’s worst* vacuum sales rep, she’s also ghostwritten hundreds of projects for companies, best-selling fiction and award-winning nonfiction authors alike. Candace—aka—Candyland—has a severe** Milky Way latte addiction + eats way too many*** donuts/doughnuts but all things in excess, amiright?

FYI: She’s TOTALLY awkward in person (#sorrynotsorry). You can see for yourself at candaceganger.com of follow her on Twitter @candylandgang.

*she was okay, at best.

**what counts as severe?

***don’t judge me