I recently posted this meme on my Facebook page and Twitter and posed the question of whether this idea is perhaps the hardest part of being a writer. It led to further conversation about the true meaning of this quote. Some balked at the idea of “reject acceptance.”
But in order to fully embrace “accept rejection,” one must also learn to reject acceptance. You cannot have one without the other.
The artist must perpetually seek joy in the creation of the art regardless of external gratification or criticism.
Writing for approval is the path to the dark side.
The writer writes because she has a story to tell. It's like an itch that needs scratched. Writing is a way to give the “voices” in her head space to be heard. The writer puts words to the page not to get a gold star or win the prize but because life is incomplete without the act of writing.
The writer grows and matures in his craft when he learns how to know when the work is “good” and when a piece is finished. He does not need someone external to approve of the story. He writes the story of his soul, not the story that he believes others want him to write and/or that others will accept.
And the great beauty of this process is that when an artist/writer/poet/creator digs deep and stays true to his path - when he accepts rejection and rejects acceptance - he is more likely to create a work that is lauded by others. Such works are seen as creative, original, and masterpieces.
Of course not all masterpieces of the soul are recognized as such. But that does not matter to the artist because she did not labor for the purpose of acceptance anyway. She labored because the story needed to be told and she was the only one that could tell it.
Because writing is a metaphor for life, the same holds true for how we live.
And that is, I think, the most difficult part of both. To live the life our soul seeks to live without need for others to tell us "good job" and to stay on our path even when others are hell-bent on pushing us onto another road.
Why do you write? Do you feel that you have achieved Bradbury's advice - to accept rejection and reject acceptance? Do you agree with Bradbury?