Every once in a while, it can get a little grating to hear about the illustrious careers of successful writers. Especially if you've just had a particularly upsetting rejection. At those points, the last thing you want to hear about is how such and such a writer won tens of dozens of literary awards and graduated with a Masters Degree at the top of their class. Your own well of self doubt seems to triple and overflow as you read about how another author was recognized as brilliant with only a first draft, how they seemed to be a born natural with a gift for storytelling. It's not to say that you aren't happy for them, or that you don't want to follow in their footsteps. But it can put your own writing career in pretty stark contrast and make you feel, well, pretty small. So, to brighten your day and fill you with hope, I present this merry gathering of interesting facts about some of history's favourite writers. Enjoy!
Writers Who Didn't Go to College/University
Mark Twain (dropped out of school at age 12)
Charles Dickens (dropped out of school at age 12)
Writers Who Weren't Appreciated Until They Were Dead
Edgar Allan Poe
Rejection Hall of Famers
C.S. Lewis had over 800 rejections before he sold a single thing.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell was rejected by 25 publishers.
Gertrude Stein submitted her poetry for 22 years before one was accepted.
Rudyard Kipling was told in one of his rejection letters that he didn't know how to use the English language.
A Wrinkle in Time by Margaret Engle (which won the Newbery Medal) was rejected 26 times before it was accepted.
27 different publishers rejected Dr. Seuss' first book.
E.E. Cummings' first book The Enormous Room was rejected by 15 publishers. He eventually self published and it went on to be considered a masterpiece of modern poetry. He dedicated it to the 15 publishers who rejected him.
Are we feeling a little better? Just remember, the only one who really needs to believe in you is you. If you believe you have something special, don't give up. It might be the next masterpiece.