Between classes at school yesterday, I saw the exciting news. The list of writers moving on to the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award had been announced. As my creative writing students wandered into the room, I checked the list, swiping down the page with my tingling fingers.
There were many names, but this year, mine wasn’t among them.
I won’t deny the wave of disappointment that washed over me. I made it through the first round with the same pitch last year, so the overly hopeful and optimistic side of me somewhat assumed that I would make it that far again. Perhaps I would even make it further. (Perhaps I would finally be one step closer to achieving one of my dreams since so many of them seem to constantly elude me…)
Being a writer, though, means facing rejection on a frequent basis. The only times I haven’t met rejection in my writing career were with a kindergarten story contest, a high school essay contest, a college poetry contest (that I don’t think anyone else entered except for the other guy who was picked and me), and the first round of ABNA last year.
But that’s okay. I don’t write for other people. I write for me. Because it’s like my heartbeat. I can’t stop it, and I wouldn’t even want to if I could.
As I calmly carried on with my creative writing class, two words of encouragement came to mind.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
“If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same…”
– “If” by Rudyard Kipling
Rejection is part of life. It just means it’s time to pick yourself back up by your bootstraps and continue on. Those red badges of courage are reminders that life’s too short not to take risks, and today’s “no” could be a “yes” tomorrow.
Besides, it’s great writing motivation (once I calmed my inner editor back down). There are so many stories to write and perfect, and who knows which one will be the one that will start a published career?
What encourages you when you face rejection?