In acting, they say that you're successful if you book 10% of the jobs you audition for.
Let that sink in.
You are a doing well as an actor if you are rejected only 90% of the time.
And that's only counting the jobs you've auditioned for. That number doesn't include all of the projects your agent(s) submitted you for that you weren't called in to audition for. If you look at those numbers, success might look something like booking 1% of all the projects you are submitted for. (I'm making up this number because I don't know the stats, plus I'm not a mathematician.)
And if you want to talk stats for writers, I won't even try to guess. I don't know if those numbers exist for freelance writing, but 96% of writers seeking representation for their books are rejected. And only a percentage of those who land book agents actually publish their books.
As a freelance writer, I typically send out 5 pitches to editors a week, and I am excited if 1-2 of the 5 are accepted. That's only 20-40%.
A big part, undeniably, is acceptance. Every time I sell an article, or book an acting job, I am encouraged to keep moving forward, even amidst mounds of rejection. Every time an editor adds me to her list of go-to freelancers or emails me requesting story ideas, the sting of rejection subsides a little. They are proof that I'm strengthening my craft and my network.
But what helps me push through rejection more than acceptance is rejection.
Rejection helps me push through rejection.
Here's what I mean:
Every time I am rejected from a publication or an acting project that I REALLY want, and I resultantly spend minutes (or hours) feeling sad and disappointed, I ask myself:
"WHY am I doing this?
Is this WORTH IT?
Is this what I'm EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE DOING with my life?"
The questions demand that I analyze my WHY, that I touch base with my innerself and God to make sure I'm where I'm supposed to be.
The answer is always:
"I LOVE this!
Yes, it's WORTH IT.
Yes, you're CALLED to this."
When I said "yes" to a life as a writer and actor, I didn't realize that I was saying "yes" to a 90-96% rejection rate. I saw only success and promises from God.
Today, I see that those promises come through rejection.
How do you deal with rejection and failure? Comment below.
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