Continuing with Encouragement Week… featuring posts from years past, each offering a little inspiration for your writing journey. I’m away from the blog, but I’ll be back next week with all-new posts. Enjoy!


Everyone knows getting published is an uphill battle. With few exceptions, it’s a long, difficult and often frustrating road with the possibility of heartbreak at every turn.

(I’m so optimistic today, aren’t I?)

Many of us have a desire, a dream, a passion to write books. And we want to be published authors. So today I want to remind you that you are going to have to fight for it.

You’ll have to fight off impatience and develop fortitude. You’ll have to fight off insecurity and believe in yourself and your God. You’ll have to fight off weariness and build perseverance. You may have to fight off pride and learn humility. You’ll have to fight off all the forces that constantly endeavor to hold you back or keep you down. You’ll have to fight through the obstacles.

And remember, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. (I love a good cliché now and then.)

We Christians talk a lot about how God uses our trials and tribulations to make us into the people we’re supposed to be. Sometimes it feels like a bunch of platitudes. But the concept is true and it’s powerful. Our challenges make us what we are, what we can be. Ask yourself: How am I being shaped and strengthened through the trials of this writing journey?

When you get a rejection or yet another disappointment along this road, try not to ask Why? Instead, ask What? What can I learn from this? What is it trying to tell me? What can I do better?

And then, look at your rejection letter, or your painful critique, and say, thank you.

In the words of my favorite Christina Aguilera song, Fighter:

So I want to say thank you:
Cause it makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
Makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter

Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter

Are you a fighter? Do you want to be? Do you disagree that you need to be? Tell me about some of the challenges you’ve fought through.

Click here to listen to the song.

Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


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  2. calgary computer repair on October 31, 2011 at 2:17 AM

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  3. worstwriterever on April 5, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    >Are you a fighter?
    100 proof fighter here.

    Do you want to be?
    Not always. Sometimes I wish I didn't have that restless need to not be ordinary. It's exhausting.

    Do you disagree that you need to be?
    Sure. Not all successful writers are fighters, but I would say most are.

    Tell me about some of the challenges you've fought through:

    Attain funding to attend college, attain funding to deal with a disability, attain decent housing; rejection after rejection. Each "approved" stamp finally achieved was a huge fight.

  4. Noel on April 2, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    >I've been enjoying your blog. Today I recommended that my readers ( subscribe, and linked to this particular post as an encouragement to the writers among us.


  5. lynnmosher on April 1, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    >Awesome post, Rachelle! Thanks so much for the encouragement week! Bless you!

  6. Renee on April 1, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    >God is so awesome! "I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me." It is true that we must go after what we want and not just wait for it fall into our laps. "Faith without works is dead." We may fall down, but we can get up.

    It may not happen right away, but God is surely able…and I rest in knowing that no man can withhold from me what God has ordained.

  7. John Robinson on April 1, 2010 at 10:13 AM

    >Great post, Rachelle, and great comments. I came to writing late (age 48), but it was worth the wait.

    Ten years later I now have three suspense novels commercially published, a controversial spec fic work coming out this August, another suspense novel that will be out next spring, a top agent, and a small (but growing and rabid) fan base.

    All that to say, all glory to God, and as Jimbo said, keep punching. Rest comes when the mission's done; not before.

  8. Rick Barry on April 1, 2010 at 5:49 AM

    >I could almost hear the music from the first Rocky movie playing in the background for this post!

    Winning athletes understand they have to get out and practice and exercise daily if they're going to make the cut. So why should we expect success delivered on a silver platter with little or no effort?

  9. Paul and Karen on March 31, 2010 at 10:54 PM

    >Nothing like editing my posts… sigh…

    I meant to say, "Yes, I am a fighter, a seasoned warrior."

    LOL! Ok, no laughing allowed but me, pardon the pun and word play… 😉

  10. Paul and Karen on March 31, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    >Yes, I'm not a fighter, a seasoned warrior. Surviving cancer three times makes you that way, like it or not. I'm fighting for time to get it all done. Now, that's a good fight.

  11. Martha Ramirez on March 31, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    >Rachelle, this is an awesome post!! I LOVED it!!
    So, so true. Love the song.
    To be a published author is a huge ladder to climb. But I'm willing to fight to the top.

    I've never felt like this about anything in my life–ever. I finally knew what all the professional athletes felt like as they strived to get there.

    Yes, I am a fighter. Yes, I believe you have to be to get anywhere in life. It takes dedication and determination.
    It's odd that I feel the way that I do, but I feel that I will get there. I don't know how, but I know I will.

    Thanks so much for posting this!

  12. Anonymous on March 31, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    >I'm not religious at all, but I do try to be nice to everyone, especially service people who are often overlooked. But after a frustrating string of rejections, I said a little prayer. Boy, was I freaked out when the very next day I got a request for a full from a dream agent. Maybe there's something to this after all…

  13. Mira on March 31, 2010 at 2:42 PM


    I don't know you, but from your post, I'm guessing that you may faced more hardships and come out much stronger than you think. You also clearly have a good heart, and I wish you the best.

    Rachelle, I've been struck this week by how really good you are at inspirational writing. That is a very powerful gift.

    It's also a challenging gift, because you have to be very careful with it. Very, very careful.

    That said, I'll look forward to your book. 🙂

  14. Timothy Fish on March 31, 2010 at 12:26 PM


    I can understand your point of view that those who self-publish detest correction and are removing their selves from the fight. If that is your view then self-publishing is not for you, but I don’t think many people who have taken that route agree with that view. For me, I’m not sure that I would have ever written a book if I hadn’t known that I would be self-publishing it after I finished. My experience has been that the quality of my work suffers when I know I’m writing something to send to an agent rather than writing something that I will be self-publishing. I doubt that’s true for everyone and it shouldn’t be true for me, but knowing the challenges self-published books face causes me to work that much harder, hoping that this book will be one of the few that sells more than most. On the other hand, when I know I’m just writing so I’ll have something to send to an agent if my query intrigues her, I feel like there’s a safety net that prevents me from putting something terrible in front of the reader. I think it’s always more challenging to work without a net.

  15. writer jim on March 31, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    >Lauradroege, THANK YOU.

  16. Bethany on March 31, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    >You hit the nail on the head: don't ask "why", ask "what". Such an important part of our Christian walk, which – whether or not we remember – is at play in every situation/venture, including publication. It's another reason I so disagree with self-publishing. Instead of taking the hits and having the opportunity to see areas for growth, it's like detesting correction and going straight to your end goal. And, as when we detest correction, I don't think the goal is ever worth it. (I should probably just blogged about this. Sorry.)

  17. writer jim on March 31, 2010 at 11:21 AM


    I have a daughter with middle name Lauren. She's in colledge, too.
    She is a fighter for God. She stands up all alone, speaking out for God, when a professors say things against God…or even deny His very existence.
    You are on your own now, enough to choose what to fight for. I can say this: You, one person, have more power to help preserve our nation…than does the totality of America's vast military might.

  18. lauradroege on March 31, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    >I enjoy getting to know everyone that regularly comments on this blog. (Of course, I appreciate your posts, too, Rachelle.)

    @WriterJim-I'm sorry you've been through so much for so long. I'll say a prayer for you.

    @Pam-Congrats on getting accepted to the workshop. You go, girl!

    @James Scott Bell-Really liked your boxing metaphor, then saw the title of one of your books: The ARt of War for Writers. How appropriate.

    @Everyone else–Thanks for sharing your lives with me. Y'all are inspirations. Keep fighting, my friends!

  19. Lauren on March 31, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    >I'm 19. I'm in college. I've only been out of parents house two years, and they still want to try to control what I do, who I hang out with, what my career should be, etc. Oh, and did I mention that I'm an only child? I'm a baby to them. Praise the day that they see me as a little bit more than a helpless creature. I WANT to be a fighter. I WANT to learn all the things you've talked about in this post. I feel like I've been spoiled, honestly. People have actually asked me that before since I'm an only child, and previously I'd said no. But, honestly, I am. I'm naive, and I don't understand a lot of what the world is like because I've been so sheltered. I don't see it as a good thing. Yes, there is a certain protection in that, but walking around ignorant is not always bliss. I've been selfish, prideful, self-absorbed. And yes, I blame all of this on the fact that I grew up alone in my childhood. I had cousins my age and friends, but that's not the same as living with a brother or sister, no matter the difference or lack thereof in age. I never really learned anything except that I was missing out and being weakened. So, yes, I would very much like to be a fighter. I understand it's a baby steps process, and I'm okay with that, and I certainly think that God is strengthening me into being a fighter, of which I am infinitely grateful.

  20. James Scott Bell on March 31, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    >There's an old boxing rule: Keep punching, 'cause you always have the puncher's chance.

    When you get knocked down (and you will) it hurts. So sit on the canvas a minute, clear the cobwebs, then get up, regroup, and punch some more.

  21. Sharon A. Lavy on March 31, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    >Fight the good fight. . . I like that thought.

    Thank you once again.

  22. Ken Hannahs on March 31, 2010 at 8:16 AM

    >Nice post… I love the lesson presented here. I think you definitely have to be a fighter on every front imaginable… I fight off lingering feelings of doubt internally and externally, as well as monetarily and emotionally. Everything is up in the air because of my passion for literature, and it makes me realize every day that this writing thing is a gauntlet. You may have the best idea for a story ever, but if you don't go through the painful process of writing a novel, you really have nothing except a day dream.

    Very good post. Love it.


  23. Indigo on March 31, 2010 at 8:09 AM

    >Growing up with a hearing disability,only to find myself wake up 5 years ago deaf…I would say I'm a fighter. That doesn't even include all the life in-between.

    Whenever I start to doubt, I remember that first year of learning to live with the silence. If I can get through that, surely I can do what it takes to get published. (Hugs)Indigo

  24. Jason on March 31, 2010 at 7:39 AM

    >Great point Rachelle. I'd almost even say from God's POV (which is the only that counts), he wants us to fight, which is why he gave us the desire to write.

    The whole lover v fighter thing…I think you have to be a fighter in order to be a lover. That's what passion means…suffering for something (someone) you hold dear.

    And if writing is about nothing else, it's about suffering! 🙂

  25. Pam Halter on March 31, 2010 at 7:36 AM

    >I'm a fighter, Rachelle. I got my first two picture books picked and and published with only 2 rejections and one writer's conference under my belt. That was 12 year ago. Since then, I've only published daily devos and a couple of articles. I've amassed rejections a-plenty and after I stop feeling sorry for myself, I get back to the computer.

    I have no idea when it will happen for me again, but things are looking up. I was accepted for the Highlights Whole Novel Workshop for Fantasy Writers in May!! Woooooooooooo!

    Yep, we have to keep fighting. It's the only way our dreams will come true.

  26. Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought on March 31, 2010 at 7:12 AM

    >I appreciate these posts of encouragement. This particular one about being a fighter means something different to me today than it might have weeks ago.

    I most certainly am a fighter and I've found getting knocked down makes me all the more resilient.
    ~ Wendy

  27. Candyland on March 31, 2010 at 7:01 AM

    >I've been a fighter from birth. From the classic rocky childhood to a (first) turbulent marriage, infertility issues, the list goes on, and on…
    I think it's the only way to be. If you're not fighting, you're fading.

  28. Katie Ganshert on March 31, 2010 at 4:49 AM

    >I will officially be singing this song all day.

    Great reminder for me today. Thanks, Rachelle. 🙂

  29. writer jim on March 31, 2010 at 2:30 AM


    This post makes some of the best spiritual points I've ever seen on your blog. I really like it.

    I sometimes comment on wonderful things God has done…but have never told things like this, but you sort of asked:

    In 18 years of writing my book, I've endured Satanic attacks; I doubt if there's been one day I haven't had to cry…sometimes even for 6 hours a day, month after month.

    In the early days of writing my book…Satan actually spoke to me. He said He would attack my 2 daughters: The phone rang and one daughter was in a auto accident…and the caller told me she may die or never walk again. My other child suddenly would not move; she simply stayed in bed, unresponsive week after week. Doctors had no answers.
    I was attacked suddenly, and had to undergo treatments for a rare horrifying deadly disease (totally non-contagious). I could only groan in pain day and night for months. I'd go to church and even had to groan in pain during the service…and could hardly fight back my tears as I thought of my child at home, not even getting up from bed. Suddenly, long time friends would no longer speak to us; and vicious lies about us were spread in church.
    At the same time period, One day Satan said: I can make a limb fall and break the windshield on your new car. In about one minute it happened; new car filled with 1,000 pieces of glass. I walked in from looking at the car, and Satan said: I can make the sewer back up in your house. Minutes later, here it came all over.

    Some may think it strange; but thru terrors like those, in my tears I could only cry out perpetually, "I love you God!!"

    I've told enough; but there are tons more to tell of terrible spiritual battles yr after yr after yr.

    Yet during years of sorrow, God has shown me fantastic supernatural things to bolster my faith.
    Actually, I sort of feel bad writing these things…but maybe it will help some others. Thanks

  30. Lynda Young on March 31, 2010 at 1:22 AM

    >Great and awesome post. I don't doubt that the Lord wants me to write, but I sometimes get frustrated, impatient, and discouraged. It's just not happening fast enough! It's certainly an uphill struggle (and yay for cliches).

  31. T. Anne on March 31, 2010 at 1:08 AM

    >I'm a fighter. I always think of this song when I get a rejection, "I get knocked down, but I get up again, and you're never going to keep me down…"

    I've dealt with embarrassment, rejections, harsh critiques, you name it. But at the end of the day I believe this is where the Lord wants me. I'm thrilled to write and utilize this vessel for His glory.