A Novel Idea


Posted on: September 11, 2010

I was going to title this post ‘My First Rejection’, but that is inaccurate. Both in the context of my writing career and my wider life experiences to date.

I’ve been rejected before – just not as a ‘serious’ writer.

Significant Rejection #1: Being dumped. Ouch.

This is something we can all relate to (if we’ve entered the murky world of human relationships where love and/or lust are involved). I actually do alright on this scale. I’ve only been dumped twice. Both times for the same offence: not sleeping with the adolescent male who, in hindsight, was probably a poor choice of boyfriend anyway. Not that I’m bitter about being dumped. After a few sobs into my single bedcover I got over them. I still remember the two infamous moments in burning detail though.

Significant Rejection #2: ?

There hasn’t really been one. Worthy of the qualifier that is.

I’ve made my own luck in life. I’ve worked really hard. Eventually you get rewarded.

Sure, there are jobs I’ve gone for and not landed. I can count those on my hands. Generally I was considered inexperienced (the PC way of saying ‘too young – get back in your box you little upstart’) but capable.

Then there have been minor snubs along the lines of shop assistants not greeting you (even though you’ve been in the store well past the reasonable period of time in which you should be acknowledged). This is generally because I will walk into a store in whatever I’m wearing (which is usually something comfortable). I dress up for people I care about, I don’t dress up for shop assistants. Why should I make it easy for you to gauge my wallet depth?

I’ve known hardship. We all have. Just on varying scales.

Rejection is a separate concept.

The one thing I do care about – passionately – (family and dear friends aside) is my writing.

If you’ve been following my solipsistic blog, or have read the early posts, you’ll know I’m heaven-bent on becoming a published author.

So we come to the topic of disappointment.

In my eagerness I sent the first three chapters of my novel into a competition. The winner of the competition will have access to the senior editor at a well known publishing house. All you had to do was be unpublished in the genre you were submitting for and be better then the hundreds of other entrants. You also had to have the full novel ready to deliver when selected.

I found out about this competition when there was just over a month left to the closing date. I had nothing to submit, but it sparked a strong desire in me. A desire so strong that I quit my job in order to manage the feat of writing three terrific chapters in the space of one month.

I succeeded. I took an idea I’d been pondering and banged out the first five chapters inside a month. I submitted.

The entries were not going directly to the publisher. The writing centre which organised the competition had a manuscript assessor on hand to vet the submissions.

Two weeks ago I found out that my three chapters did not even make the short list that the publisher screened. I did not rate a mention.

I was not bereft, but I was disappointed.

Egotistically, I was even a little shocked.

How do you deal with disappointment?

Connor surprised me with champagne the night of the announcement. This is a guy who gave up buying lunch (and many other things that you can’t afford on one income). I almost cried.

What was I thinking?  

He insisted we celebrate.

Two weeks later, I can see he was right. I may not have won this time, but I’m on the path.

I do wish I could ask the manuscript assessor why I didn’t make the cut. Googling the winner I can see they have prior form in another genre. That makes me feel better, but I don’t just want to feel better. I want to be better.

I have no regrets about launching boldly in the direction of my dream.

I have time now. Time to make this novel the best I am capable of crafting.

And the good news is – technically I haven’t been rejected – the publisher never got the chance!

Write well. Write often.


(C) Copyright of the author. 2010.

2 Responses to "Disappointment"

Sadly, rejections are part of the deal of being a writer. It also happens if you’re a musician and an actor. Don’t worry, all it takes is ONE person. The right person to get your story. Good luck with it.

Comments are closed.

  • None
  • Violet: Thanks Alannah :) Apologies for not replying sooner: I'm finally catching my breath and the year is almost over!
  • Alannah Murphy: I remember your first post, way back when I had my old Here Be Dragons blog, and I am glad you are still writing. We all find out, sooner or later, ho
  • Violet: Good to hear that Aaron. Good Luck with your work.
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