Almost three weeks ago, I got an email from Women on Writing notifying me I was in their top ten for their Winter 2016 contest. I happy danced all the way from the women’s restroom in Flatbread back to my table. It was exciting and boosted my confidence.
The days between now and then were full of rejections. Sometimes, I would get three or four in one day. One morning, three came in a couple hours. I’ve developed pretty thick skin when it comes to rejections, but the onslaught was starting to wear it down and erode my confidence. It made me wonder what wasn’t working with my stories or process, wondering if my idea of what was “good” and what editors and slush readers thought of as “good” was just too different.
Yesterday, I spent the morning selling what is left of my seaglass jewelry at a yard sale in Maine. I was trying not to check my email to much because I was almost out of data on my phone. Around 9:30, I gave in to my curiosity and refreshed gmail on my phone. The first thing I saw was a rejection from Clarkesworld. The second was a newsletter from Women on Writing. I opened it, expecting to my story as the last runner up, only to find my face staring back at me as the second place winner.
Let’s just say that everyone at the yard sale was notified of my win. I was very excited to not only have another “published” story, but to actually get paid for it.
I don’t write for money. I write because I need to write. However, everything in contemporary America costs money, and in order to justify the amount of time I put into the writing, I need to get compensated for it. Knowing my story was selected over hundreds of other and getting money for it felt good. It proved writing was more than just a hobby. It made me feel like artist, and like a professional.
I did it once, I can do it again. I will not let rejections get me down. I’ll keep pushing against the tide until I reach the next island – the next acceptance letter.
If you are interested, you can see my story, and the other winners, by clicking this link: http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/69-FE1-Winter16Contest.html