Rejection. How do you take it?
I took mine yesterday with a large, sugary donut. I felt better for approximately five minutes before the inevitable deep-fried guilt took over. However, this reaction, the whole ‘eat something bad this instant’ thing, made me think: how many donuts will I have to eat before I get to celebrate selling a story or winning a competition.?(Let’s not even dream of publishing-I am quite new to this after all). Ok, so I did win a small flash fiction contest a few months ago, which was thrilling, but since then I’ve had several stories sent back from various magazines and yesterday I checked to see if I placed in a short story competition. I did not. Not even on the short list.
So, which of the following do you think I did:
A) Go into immediate denial and tripple check the list of names.
B) Stomp around the house not saying why I was stomping,
thereby annoying my partner.
C) Mutter to myself for an hour before turning to the internet for two hours mindless surfing.
D) Eat. A lot. Of junk.
E) All of the above.
Mmmm, the answer is of course E.
And which of the following did I not do:
A) Look at the situation objectively and think ‘No problem, you can’t win all the time’.
B) Look at the situation objectively and read the winning stories to see where I could improve.
C) Look at the situation objectively and think ‘Not all judges will like my style of writing or my choice of subject matter, but this does not make me a bad writer.
D) Look at the situation objectively and sit down and finish writing my next story.
E) All of the above.
Well, what do you think?
But then a funny thing happened. Maybe it was the donut, but after a few hours I did sit down and finish a draft of a story, and today I have begun another to send to a magazine. And better still, I have done it in a positive spirit. Not only that, (and I’m proud of this), I did read the winning entries, and yes, they are very well written. Not all to my taste, but I can spot a good story. I don’t feel jealous. Ok. I do feel jealous. But in a good way. I am jealous of the talent on display and am determined to be as good, if not better, next time round.
I’m sure these are emotions you have all experienced, but remember, this is new to me.
I have stuck this quote from Beckett above my desk as it sums up how I intend to continue. Now I only have to remember to look at it.
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
Thank you Samuel. I will.