Failure Is Just Part of the Business

I’m swamped today with getting ready for events tonight and tomorrow night at the ABA Winter Institute. Ack! But I wanted to take a quick moment to share a failure I had this past week.

I know some of you have felt really bad about not getting an assignment you pitched or auditioned for. Or some of you have been too afraid of failure to try in the first place. So I wanted to tell you this:

I completed an editing audition this past week, and I did not get hired.

Yup. It still happens. Even when you’ve done writing and editing and writing leveled readers for a long time.

In a nutshell, here’s what happened:

  • Company approached me about working on a project of leveled reader news articles on a website.
  • I talked with the project manager by phone. Work was taking an adult news article and leveling it down to three different reading levels (using Lexile as the measurement tool). It paid $100 per article (including all three levels). So, the pay was not much. But it sounded sort of interesting. A different spin of kinds of writing I’ve done before. I agreed to an audition.
  • I looked at the pay and thought about how much time I would be willing to put into each task for $100. Then I spent that much time on the audition. I wanted to be realistic. I could have spent 10 hours on the audition and done an amazing job, but can I afford to work for $10/hour? Nope. So.
  • I also slightly misunderstood. I didn’t think I could really add things to the articles, only remove things. That was incorrect. Oops.
  • I did the sample and turned it in.
  • I just got a nice note yesterday from the project manager explaining that they weren’t going to be bringing me on board for this. She also gave a little bit of detail about where I went wrong. That was super helpful, as it might make a difference in how I approach the next opportunity–which might be one I really want to work out.
  • I was kind of relieved to get a “no,” since this project is for February/March, and those two months are already super busy for me. But I’ll admit that getting the “no” still stung a little bit.

But the key–the important thing here–is that it’s just the business side. Nobody gets 100% of the freelance jobs they go for. You can’t take it personally. You can’t think, “Wow, I suck at this. I must suck at all writing. Why did I ever think I could do this?”

Nope. You just say, “Well, that one didn’t work out. Maybe next time. Especially if I apply what I learned from this time.”

So–don’t be afraid of failing. You will fail MANY, MANY times along the way to regular work and publication. It–like a crappy first draft–is just part of the process. You can’t let it stop you. Just step right on top of that failure and keep on climbing.



About Laura Purdie Salas

children's writer, poet, reader, visiting author, speaker/teacher, mentor, copyeditor, freelance writer
This entry was posted in Laura's Writing Life and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Failure Is Just Part of the Business

  1. Laura, I appreciate your transparency and positive attitude!! Thank you!

  2. Angie says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Rejection is never fun, but if we expect it going in, that may help us to recover and move on.

  3. Sara Matson says:

    I found this really helpful. Thank you! It’s so easy to think that people like you–successful, full-time writers–don’t deal with or don’t deal as much with failure/rejection. This was a good reminder to me to keep on trying in spite of that pesky fear of failure. 🙂

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