My experiment in collecting rejection

Or: “Did I just fail at failure?”

Shortly before New Year’s Eve, I decided that my goal for the year was to collect 100 rejection letters.

One thing I’ve always struggled with is putting myself out there, especially when it comes to my writing. Writing, especially fiction writing, is a game of numbers. The more often you’re rejected, the more often those rare acceptances will come through.

So I joined Duotrope and started sending away my short stories.

But a problem arose with my plan early on: turnaround time on short story rejection is long, and I was already starting to lose motivation. So I began sending out applications to other things I found interesting as well.

I’m one of those surprisingly-common type of people that has many interests, even within the professional realm. So I started to apply to startup-related grants and scholarships, writing gigs, crypto content marketing jobs and more.

What started as a whimsical experiment began to morph into a mindset. And as the end of May approached I realized: this collecting rejection thing isn’t actually working.

Um, whoops. That’s a bit more popular of a tweet than I usually have!

So in the afternoon, before I ran off to a meeting with one of my new clients, I paused to type out a gratitude tweet. When I said, “take more chances” I was really talking to myself, but that message resonated, apparently…

Which is why I’m writing this post now.

People began to ask for more detail, or to share their own methods of motivating themselves to strive for success.

Here are a few things I’ve learned from the overwhelming, wonderful response to my tweet:

  • If you apply to 100 colleges, you’ll likely go broke. Use Prepify to prioritize.
  • If you’re looking for central repositories for jobs or gigs, try Duotrope, Writer’s Market, Artist’s Market, or Indeed.
  • Yes, this was a giant humblebrag, but no, I’m not ashamed of it.
  • Everyone motivates themselves in different ways, so learn what works for you by experimenting.
  • Viral tweets make Twitter nearly unusable. I will be going through my follows more carefully after things quiet down to do a better followback process and get to know my new circle better. :) And if I was asleep when you tweeted at me, it’s likely gone. I can’t scroll back more than 2–3 hours at this time. Sorry!
  • Twitter remains the most amazing tool to meet new people through the Internet.

Also, here are a few cool opportunities currently available for application:

  • SWHackout: Startup Weekend’s LGBTQIA+ themed weekend hackathon in Austin, TX, coming up soon. There might still be a few travel scholarships available, too, but you’ll need to check.
  • Product Hunt Startup Book Giveaway: a sweepstakes running through May 31 that enters you in a contest for a pile of amazing books in exchange for your email.
  • The NYAAF has two positions open until June 1st for those who believe in choice for reproductive rights. Based in NYC. (community submitted)
  • If you’re a part of a women-led early stage startup in Chicago, the new Brad’s Deals Accelerator is opening for applications, um, real soon! Check it out. (community submitted)
  • If you have another cool opportunity, please DM me on Twitter and I will add it here.

So if you’re inspired by this project and feel like taking it on yourself, let me know — June seems like a good time to get started, and my Twitter should be less hectic by then. Say hi!

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