Just Practice

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.
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