Real Advice from a Fictional Writer

I won’t ever call Castle the most accurate portrait of a writer’s life.  But it’s about the best television-friendly portrait available.  Thus I was thrilled when this week’s episode included Castle giving his daughter some great advice after getting a college rejection letter.  I’d put a video clip up, but it’s not available as just a clip, and the whole episode will disappear from Hulu in a few weeks (starts almost exactly at 35:00).  So some transcription:

Alexis: How do you do it dad?

Castle: Do what?

Alexis: Well, that letter that you have framed in your office.

Castle: My first manuscript rejection?

Alexis: Yeah, how can you stand having it there?

Castle: Cause it drives me.  And I got twenty more of those before Black Pawn ever agreed to publish Hail of Bullets.  That letter?  That letter reminds me of what I’ve overcome.  Rejection isn’t failure.

Alexis: Sure feels like failure.

Castle: No.  Failure is giving up.  Everyone gets rejected.  It’s how you handle it that determines where you’ll end up.

It probably sounds better actually delivered by Nathan Fillion.  Castle himself is a fictional writer, but the people creating his lines are all real writers, who likely have all gone through that rejection process, so while the speaker may not be real, the words are.  They apply across any facet of life, rejection isn’t just a beast that stalks writers.  But it is constantly nipping at our heels.  I’ve been lucky this year with two acceptances, but I’ve gotten twice as many rejections.  Because everyone gets rejected.

I’d like to just link from this to a post on Ingrid Sunberg’s blog where she compiled a list of famous authors and the number of times they were rejected.

So take your rejections, learn from them, grow from them.  Don’t give up because of them.  Keep writing, keep moving forward, and just keep trying.  Other people may reject you, but you are the only one who can defeat you.

Yes, that was treacle and sounded like an inspirational poster reject.  My blog, my rules.  Oh, and watch Castle.  It’s a great show and a master class at keeping plot twists interesting.


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