Jack London

Jack London 

Famous Failures Jack London

Jack London, born in 1876, Jack London is an American novelist who penned the poignant classics, The Call of the Wild and White Fang. He was put up for adoption by his biological mother who had attempted suicide at the time. She shot herself after news of the pregnancy after William Chaney, her husband at the time, demanded that she have an abortion.

At the age of 21-years old, in 1897, while in attendance at the University of California in Berkley, London wrote to his father, Chaney, who denied that he was the boy’s dad, instead sending him a letter that chastised him and his biological mother. Completely distraught by this, London quit Berkley and moved to the Klondike to live in the wilderness for a year.

Upon returning, he had committed to mastering the art of writing, deciding to write at least 1,000 words per day no matter what the situation. Realizing that mastery would come only through this method, he followed through with his goals, working from sunup until sundown, every single day without fail.

Yet, with every piece that he would mail to a newspaper or magazine, with the enthusiasm that he would get published, failure after failure returned in the envelopes that were sent back. No one was willing to publish his writing. After some time, he tired of the feeling of failure and rejection.

However, by 1899, after the rise of lower-priced technologies for printing presses that resulted in a boon for magazines, his first story had been published. In that year, he had earned a respectable $2,500 through his writing, equivalent to about $70,000 in today’s dollars when accounting for inflation.

Yet, London suffered through more than 50 separate rejections during a 5-month period of sending out his manuscripts and writing to various publishers. Just a few short years later, in 1903, at the age of 27-years old, London’s celebrated novel, The Call of the Wild had been published, and he had reached a dizzying height of success in his career. 




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