This year was the first time I applied for the Viable Paradise writers workshop. There were a number of factors that held me back from submitting in years past, primarily the financial aspects. A week off, a cross-country trip, the tuition, and room and board expenses were all great enough to present a considerable challenge. This year things are looking well enough that those considerations were now manageable.
Yesterday, while I was home nursing a minor sinus cold, the email came in letting me know that I had not been accepted into the Workshop. I was informed that there are only 24 students and the competition had been unusually tough and the number of applications high. The rejection did also say that the readers had enjoyed my sample writing and that it showed promise but had not won a consensus to get that coveted slot.
Of course not getting in provoked sadness. I wanted in. Even with all the expenses and the anxiety I had applied in hopes of winning, but this is the nature of the beast. Attempted traditional publishing means not just courting rejection, but marrying the old girl and living with her forever. However, rejection is not failure.
Failure is not attempting.
Failure is not learning.
Failure is not dreaming.
Rejections are reality and it is a harsh one. Even harsher is that acceptance does not preclude rejections it merely changes the nature of it. A manuscript is accepted by the agent, but still rejected by a publisher. A manuscript is accepted by a publisher, but rejected by award committees. A book is sold but rejected by readers. A book fails to gain a second printing. The list is nearly endless.
There will also be someone rejecting your work, even if it is just the one star reviews on Amazon. (That’s if you get reviews, and form of rejection, no one even bothers to comment.) Live with the rejection, embrace it, learn from it, but never let it stop you.
To my fellow writers who made the cut and are going to spend a week on Martha’s Vineyard, all my best to you; have fun, learn a lot, and do not let the fear of rejection ever stop you.
I will continue working, sending material to my agents, and if conditions are right next year, I will try again.