They said no. Big deal.

baker daleks
Things might seem a bit dire now, but there’s always a solution

When I send out a query letter, I do so with equal parts of hope and optimism, as well as healthy doses of realism and some kind of fatalism.

I totally realize that the odds are against me and that the response will most likely be some variation of “no”. But I send it anyway, because…you never know.

I used to put way too much pressure on myself about this sort of thing, but a steady stream of “thanks, but no thanks” has really built up my resilience. If it reaches the next step, great. If they pass, that’s the end of that and I move on to the next thing.

And there’s always a next thing.

I’ve been very fortunate to have built up a network of supportive creative folks. Many pass on words of encouragement, usually along the lines of “Love how you bounce back!” and “I really admire your work ethic!”

Honestly, I don’t really have a choice. The simple truth is that if I want to make it, I’ve got to keep trying. The failures and disappointments will always greatly outnumber the accomplishments and successess, and the only way to get to the latter is to keep pushing through the former.

There might be a moment of feeling bad about getting told “no” for the umpteenth time, but you have to get over it and move on.

Frustrating as it can sometimes be, I’d rather keep trying and failing than stop altogether. I may not be the most fantastic writer in the world, but I like to think I’ve got some decent talent, and I’ll keep at it. The optimist in me leans towards things eventually going my way – preferably sooner than later.

Be strong, keep trying and keep writing, chums.

7 thoughts on “They said no. Big deal.

  1. I love this. And I needed this — great reminder. Thank you.

    But, I also wanted to offer a little different possibility: sometimes when what we keep doing isn’t working, it might be a good time to change things up a bit. It absolutely goes along with continuing to push on through and not letting rejection get to you (because as an artist of any kind, rejection is just part of the deal), but maybe — there might just be something you can do a little differently? I have no idea what that might be for you — but for me, I realized I wasn’t booking any of the commercial auditions my agent was sending me out on — and I hesitated because I was grateful for the auditions, but I knew something was up — I mean, I may not be the best actor or sales person (commercial acting isn’t really acting but more selling) on the planet, but I do have some talent so I realized maybe I can talk to my agent and ask them to stop sending me out on these “Spanish-Only” auditions. Because for them, that seemed to be the thing money-wise that would be best. But for me, although I was killing some of those auditions, I wasn’t right for the part because Hollywood still has an idea that Latina means only Jennifer Lopez types. So, even though I was getting rejected regularly and pushing through, I had to do a re-evaluation ESPECIALLY when I realized I really was giving it my 100% and I am know I’m NOT a horrible actor so…. what else could I try.

    One of my favorite quotes (that everyone knows) is by Einstein — the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again. <– I'm paraphrasing, but you know what I mean. Keep on keepin' on for sure — but maybe, just maybe, there's something you can do to change things up a bit.

    Thank you for this post today. You have no idea how much I needed this!


    • A very good point. It took me a while to accept I couldn’t leave things as they were. So there’s always something a little different than before. But sometimes it also comes down to “just not what I’m looking for.”

  2. I like it when you say: “Frustrating as it can sometimes be, I’d rather keep trying and failing than stop altogether.” Absolutely! You’re right! However, I sometimes wonder, how much do we do that for our friends? We bitch, we kvetch, we whine. They listen, they nudge, they empathize. It does them good. I wonder how much we fail for friends.

  3. Take heart all. I just got the nicest “pass” yet from a producer. Praised my script but passed only because they recently did a film in the same arena . Wished me all the best & said my script deserves to be made.

  4. I wish I had you’re drive. I have yet to send it my first query. I use every excuse I can find not to. Someday I know I will send them out. It’s just a matter of time.
    Good luck to you.
    Pauline Hetrick

    • Pauline, To repeat what I said earlier online – Hockey player Gordie Howe said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Take your shot. I don’t query these days. I do have my scripts on InkTip & I belong to Stage 32 & they list opportunities (for a fee) to pitch your scripts. Or put your script (s) on Black List. I’ve learned a lot about how to improve my work because people rejected my scripts but told me what was wrong with them & that allows me to improve them. Don’t wait for someday. Do it now. Jim

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