Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Being philosophical when confronted with a pea

The wait is over and I have learnt that I didn't make it into the writing workshop I applied for. It's impossible not to be disappointed by this, because the one thing most aspiring novelists yearn for is recognition that someone will want to read our manuscripts. My getting into this workshop would have been a sign that someone (other than people who know me) sees enough in my manuscript to want to read on.

Of course, not getting into the workshop doesn't mean that the manuscript is completely worthless. It just means that it didn't appeal to the one person who was assessing it. But even that has the amazing power to seed major doubt. It's the stone in the shoe, the pea at the bottom of the princess's 16-mattress-high bed. We all want to write the novel that will appeal to everyone, no matter who they are!

Ah well, I am trying to be philosophical. While acceptance would have been an amazing endorsement of my direction and calling, rejection is not -- or should not be -- the antithesis.

And, in fact, a great part of me is relieved, for although I would have welcomed the affirmation that acceptance would have brought, in truth the manuscript is not ready. I still have a helluva lot of rewriting to do on the current draft, and I was starting to panic. Now I can calm down, take the time to clean the house, see friends and go shopping, and write without that oppressive deadline. And there's always next year . . .


  1. Oh, Ellen, I'm sorry to hear that. And you're right -- any rejection brings about disappointment,(speaking from experience here!) But the experience of applying is still valuable. Of course there's always next year, and by then you'll be more than ready.

    Do something nice for yourself this week.

  2. Thanks, Lisa. It's all part of the journey, isn't it!

  3. Don't lose heart, Ellen. Reviewing manuscripts is so subjective and one person's opinion does not truly represent that of the general public. Sometimes, I think that it is just the luck of the draw...

  4. Commiserations, Ellen. We've all been there. The good news is that it's unheard of to reach publication with no experience of rejection. It feels crap, I know, but the only other option is to stop writing, which is a non-option. So I hope you get over this quickly (eat more chocolate)and then get back to the manuscript. There will be lots of people who WILL love it.

  5. And of course only the princess felt the pea!

    I'm with Hayley (and the others), and I've read the ms (or part thereof) and think they'll be sorry one day! I loved it!