Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

A Bit About (perceived) Failure

 I sometimes get frustrated about the process of becoming published. Or more to the point the lack of actual progress.

I thought when I got my first story published by Highlights, which earned me their Author of the Month award, and having same story selected as the title-lead for a Boyds Mill Press anthology, I was well on the way. Twenty-five years later I am still waiting for that stand-alone published book, that sought after accomplishment to become a reality. 

When I get yet another rejection notice or (worse) no notice at all, I wonder if that  indelible moment of “Kirkus reviewed it, Amazon carries it, found it at Barnes and Nobles moment” will actually happen. It’s not fame so much as leaving a noticable contribution. *sigh* It’s taking ever so long, and I might be collecting social security before I ever start collecting any royalty checks.

I take solace in the fact that Laura Wilder didn’t start publishing until she was past fifty. That helps. Coming across this poem that deals with failure, helps even more:

August in Waterton, Alberta
by Bill Holm

Above me, wind does its best

to blow leaves off

the aspen tree a month too soon.

No use wind. All you succeed

in doing is making music, the noise

of failure growing beautiful.


a typewriter at the Smithsonian. American History. Museum–it reminds to look and think about the writing process

So–failure, the winds of defeat, no longer  blow as noisily, the rattling of branches mocking my defeat, nay instead the sound is merely the tapping  of the conductor’s baton warming the orchestra’s performance.

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12 thoughts on “A Bit About (perceived) Failure

  1. Lovely perspective!

    • As an acquired skill I play the numbers–how many times will this manuscript get rejected? So when it does become a national seller it will really add some zing to the description that it was rejected 45 times before winning the Newberry.

  2. Never in my professional or personal life have I found a passion that requires as much patience as writing does. It can take a long time to write, revise, and copy edit a manuscript. And that’s often the ‘quick’ part. Then comes the querying. And the waiting. And waiting. And…

  3. My first question is this: Do you want to write for kids?

    Second: If yes, are you a member of SCBWI?

    If you aren’t, you should be. That will give you the boost you need, methinks.

    • My main writing is for kids–it’s a very competitive market and agents and editors are very selective at this time– or my stuff just isn’t up snuff.
      And SCBWI is amazing! There are essential in getting published. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. I recently read ‘Consider This, Señora’ for my book club and the author was in her 70s when she was first published. I thought it a wonderful reminder that there’s no set time period to be creative.

  5. I embrace my failures. Someone has to! 🙂

  6. If it’s comforting, love, there are MANY of us who feel exactly the same way. We just have to keep doing what we love.

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