15 Author Quotes About Failure

by Sadie Trombetta

Failure — it's a painful yet inevitable part of life, especially when it comes to following your artistic dreams. When it happens to you, it might feel like the end of the world, but a healthy dose of author quotes about failure will help inspire you to get back on the horse in no time.

Like death and taxes, failure is unavoidable, and whenever you find it in life — a botched creative endeavor, a ill-fated career move, a ruined romantic relationship — failure has the ability to make you question your passions, doubt your dreams, and second guess yourself and your future. It can be terrifying and paralyzing feeling, one that makes you feel like you can't go one, but no matter how alone you feel in your failure, remember one thing: you are not the only one.

Before Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was published, J.K. Rowling was rejected by eight publishing companies. Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, had his first book rejected 27 times. Margaret Atwood only wrote The Handmaid's Tale after failing to write a book on bird watching. Even the most successful authors have faced failure, but they all have one other thing in common: they never stopped trying.

The next time you find yourself facing failure, don't despair and don't give in. Instead, try reading one of these 15 author quotes that will motivate you to get back on your feet. Trust them, they've been there.

1. “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

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― Maya Angelou

2. “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”

― F. Scott Fitzgerald

3. “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.”

― H.G. Wells

4. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.”

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― J.K. Rowling

5. “My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.”

― Jack Kerouac

6. “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

― Truman Capote

7. "This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed it ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work’ and it has simply come back stamped ‘Not at this address’. Just keep looking for the right address.”

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— Barbara Kingsolver

8. “We are all failures- at least the best of us are.”

― J.M. Barrie

9.“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”

— C.S. Lewis

10. "And I did, in the end, find that inspiration, but I found it in the most unlikely and unexpected place. I found it in lessons that I had learned earlier in life about how creativity can survive its own failure.”

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— Elizabeth Gilbert

11. “Don't be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid.”

― John Keats

12. “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise”

― Oscar Wilde

13. “I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.”

— Sylvia Plath

14. “Fairy tale does not deny the existence of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance. It denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final a fleeting glimpse of Joy; Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

15. “So you think that you're a failure, do you? Well, you probably are. What's wrong with that? In the first place, if you've any sense at all you must have learned by now that we pay just as dearly for our triumphs as we do for our defeats. Go ahead and fail. But fail with wit, fail with grace, fail with style. A mediocre failure is as insufferable as a mediocre success. Embrace failure! Seek it out. Learn to love it. That may be the only way any of us will ever be free.”

― Tom Robbins

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