Writers of the Future (WotF) results for the fourth quarter of volume thirty started coming out around Halloween, a full six weeks before anyone’s most optimist guess. Earlier this week, I learned the fate of my submission in the second wave of notifications: flat reject.
WotF is one of my primary markets that I study and write stories specifically for. It was my fifth entry and when I finished writing it, I felt as if I written a winner. My beta readers independently echoed my sentiments. In fact, when I learned about the rejection, I wasn’t upset or even disappointed: I was confused. And then I realized the trap I had fallen into.
I made the mistake of thinking this entry represented the culmination of all my skill, voice, and vision. Culmination is the key word there. Culmination represents a peak, an ending. The mistake I made was forgetting that this is a journey, that each story is just practice for the next one. By viewing the story as a culmination, when the rejection came, I felt (after the confusion passed) as if that’s it, I gave it the best I had and it didn’t measure up. Such a thought naturally leads to more dangerous thoughts of giving up.
But that really isn’t an option for me. I cannot, not write. If I go for more than a day or two without writing, I start to get twitchy and grumpy. The disappointment of quarter four is already passed and I’m writing the quarter one entry for volume thirty-one right now. And this time, I remembering it’s just practice.