Rejection and Success

Posted: April 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

Rejection, we’ve all been through it, we all hate it. It never feels good.  But lets face it, there are some forms worse than others.  Over the past ten years, I have felt some of the worst ever.  The ultimate worst of which was when I arrived at my college graduation back in 2007.  I had done my checklist the previous week and had been told my my advisor that I’d done everything I needed to do.

Well I show up on the day of commencement with my whole family, friends and my cap and gown.  They go take their seats and I go to the staging area.  They passed out the seat assignments, but I found that I wasn’t on it anywhere.  After some checking I found the registrar.  He checked the computer and due to a clerical error they had in their records I’d graduated the previous year.  He went on to tell me I wasn’t supposed to be there.  I instantly became sick to my stomach.  After arguing with him for awhile he went and spoke to my advisor and came back to tell me that there was an error, so they didn’t have my diploma, and I wasn’t listed in the graduation program, but if I wanted they could “stick me on the end” and let me walk that way.  

To me that was bullshit.  I’d worked my tail off for years and spent around $40,000 to earn my degree.  I deserved and earned all the benefits that go with graduation, not being “stuck on the end” and being treated as if they were doing me some favor. At that point, I felt like I was going to throw up, or cry, or punch someone, or all three.  So I got up and left, throwing out my cap and gown on the way.

I don’t recall ever being so angry in my life.  I drove around for hours, just beside myself.  During the next few weeks, I’d called the school and complained to the dean, the president and anyone else who would listen.  All they did was minimized it and blew it off as “oh, the registrars are under a lot of stress, so these things can happen.”  Well the thing is, that was a special day.  It was a day I had worked hard for years to reach.  It was a day I was to celebrate my hard work and a crowning achievement in my life.  Instead it was taken away.  Not just taken, but ripped away.  No amount of apologizing from the school, no words, letters or emails of remorse could ever fix it.  That day was ruined and gone forever.  

Now, I consider this a rejection for a few reasons.  One big one being that if I had been the Dean’s kid, or if my dad had been a big donor to the school, I’m willing to bet that A.) The registrar would have been told to go and shit out a diploma and new program for me or B.) someone would have been fired.  I’m not naive, I’ve been around enough to see how the world works.  

Over the past few years since then I’d suffered rejections on smaller levels.  A few months ago, my fiance and I were kicked out of a night club after being invited to a party there.  Turned out the person who invited us wasn’t the one actually throwing the party and so we were not expected by the organizers.  Instead of just explaining to us the mix up, they ran and got security who rudely ran us out.  That’s probably the second most humiliating thing in my life.

While I try to let these things go, it is hard.  So instead I try to channel it into a few ways.  First way is by writing horror, I kill people off in a variety of horrible and gruesome ways in my stories.  This is actually quite therapeutic.  Feels good making my character do something I could never do in real life, and letting him get away with it.  Second is motivation.  These people who did these things to me did so simply because they could.  I was no one of any importance or financial gain to them.  So kicking me to the curb would result in no consequence to them, just some inconvenience.  

So, this is where the motivation comes in.  I was away from writing for a few years, but with a new resolve.  I love what I do so I would write regardless.  But I also want to be successful, I want to write for a living.  I want my writing to help me gain success to a point that people like that will have no choice but to notice me.  But by then it will be too late, because I will no longer notice them.  I guess in a way I want to rub it in their face.  Yes, that sounds childish, but honestly I don’t care.  

Even Michael Jordan feels this way.  We saw his Hall of Fame speech where he basically said “I guess I showed you” and called out every person who said anything negative about him through his life.  While I don’t feel I am that petty, the handful of events I mentioned above are enough to make me want to insure that I never experience anything like that ever again.  I’ve joked that one day I’ll make enough money to buy that night club, fire everyone and then turn it into a dump.  Maybe not, but it’s a fun thought.

I’m sure some of you have similar motivations.  Perhaps not, but I feel whatever drives you can’t be a bad thing if it makes you better.  When Hand of God was finished, I went over and over it then had it professionally edited.  There still came out some errors due to formatting, but over all I feel its as good of a product if not better than any other horror novel on the market.  My next one will be even better.  

While I’ve only sold less than 20 copies so far, its only been a month.  I will either be a successful author, or I will die at my keyboard.  Whichever happens first.  

What are some rejections you had suffered and how did it affect you?

  1. Graeme Ing says:

    Great, honest post. Hang in there and good luck with the sales. They’ll come.

    I felt pretty down when I got about a dozen rejections from my first round of querying. In hindsight I feel stupid to think that I expected to get a bite in so few. But I refuse to give up on that book. I rewrote the beginning and now I’m doing another complete edit, only to hand over to a pro editor to do the same thing.

    I agree – be successful or die at the keyboard!

  2. Tim Miller: “I will either be a successful author, or I will die at my keyboard. Whichever happens first.” You rock Tim! Keep at it. Never let the challenges get you down. You’ve managed to turn your obstacles into motivation… Got get em!
    Hugs 😀
    In gratitude,

  3. Success! You’ve published a novel! Many people dream of doing it and you’ve done it! Check it off and onto the next one.

    Keep writing. If it’s what makes you happy, keep doing it. Success is also what makes you happy.

  4. Tim Miller says:

    Thank you Stephanie! You always know the right things to say 🙂

  5. Helen says:

    Funnily enough the nightclub thing can really suck (although your college graduation that wasn’t sounds like an absolute nightmare, I hope you killed those admin and academic staff off really evilly!). I had a similar experience with a club, and no idea why, my friends had no idea what had happened or where I had gone. Quite devastating and it wrecked the whole weekend. I laugh about it now (first chuck out at the age of 37) but still with a certain amount of gut twisting!

    So stick to it and thanks for your honesty and bravery in writing this.

  6. Tim Miller says:

    Thank you Helen, we kind of joke about the nightclub thing now. Whenever a new “Upscale” club opens we joke about that’s just another place to get thrown out of. Or once we walked by one and they invited us in, and she goes “OH, we’re not falling for THAT again.” The door guy looked at us dumbfounded.

    Truth is, I’ve always had way more fun at dives than the fancy clubs lol.

    And yes, the graduation thing still bugs me to this day. I’m usually a pretty easygoing guy and let most things go, but this one has stuck under my skin and not sure how to get it out. Other than being more successful than all those self righteous assholes put together

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