I finally got around to seeing The Words and my god, it hurt. It hurt a lot because it holds true to the hard road we—as aspiring writers—put ourselves through.
The road to publication, hell, the road to getting an agent (getting our foot in the door), is one of the toughest, loneliest, and longest roads a writer will ever take. When Bradley Cooper’s character meets with an agent and is told his writing is stellar, honest, and real, but the book itself is not marketable was so hard to watch. You literally saw his face go from complete elation to hollow emptiness. Any writer who has submitted to agents/publishers and has been rejected knows this feeling all too well.
One of my favorite lines goes something like Rory’s (Bradley Cooper) book was met with “rejection, disinterest, and the loudest sound of all: silence.”
Then this scene in which he just snapped at a friend because he’s hurt and is being comforted by his wife kills me all the more. What he says hit so close to home. I’ve had agents tell me my writing is solid, my writing is honest, that I have talent and a bright future, but the story is “not right for the moment.” And every time I read those words I felt sucker punched.
Yet, we eventually pick ourselves up and trudge on. Why? Because we seem to enjoy the pain, the suffering, the constant feeling that you’re not good enough. Maybe it assists our craft, maybe it’s because we know the payoff in the end is worth the struggle. Maybe we’re just crazy. All I know is that if you keep getting rejected, but keep submitting and perfecting your work, I have no doubt you will make it. I know I will.
Basically, if you’re a writer in the process of looking for an agent/publisher or if you’re already a published author, I highly recommend this film to you. It will hurt, trust me. You’ll feel connected to Rory and even to the Old Man (Jeremy Irons). But it’s worth it because one thing this movie does do is let struggling writers know that you are not alone.