I know that rejection is the hardest part of being a writer, it makes you feel inadequate, you wonder if this path really is the right one to go down. I often wonder how I will ever be able to support myself in this profession.
I’ve only ever had one rejection, the main reason for that is because I have never sent my work off to anyone else! I had applied for an apprenticeship scheme last year called ‘Adventures in Fiction’.
You were required to have written a novel, that was it. Obviously the idea had to be good, it had to be something that would sell and the writing had to be good. I was always quite positive, I thought I may as well try for it. I told myself if I got the apprenticeship I wouldn’t go to university, and if I didn’t? Hello uni!
I had never showed my mum any of my work, it was always something I thought was private and personal, but I printed off the first few chapters, put it on her bed and went out for the day. When I got home she said she had found it but was only half way through. She said it was good, she had enjoyed it, gripping. I always doubt what my mum says, not because I don’t trust her, but because I know she will always praise what my brother and I do, its a mothers job. If I ever have any children I will do the same, I think its instinct, some sort of unwritten rule.
Anyway, I sent it off. A postcard came back to me a few days later to say they had received it.
Then the wait began, for months I kept checking the website to see if any apprenticeships had been selected. It was an agonizing wait, as I am sure most of the writers on here will understand.
I waited through summer, I went through my operation and recovered from it, and still there was nothing from the apprenticeship scheme. I had completely forgotten about it in the end.
Then, the worst day of my life arrived. I went to the hospital for the appointment after operations that you always have. The doctor told me the part of my thyroid they had removed contained cancer, they would have to take out the other side, I would have to have Radiotherapy.
That day was a blur, but I can remember it clearer than any other in my life so far. I carried on with my plans, I went to an outdoor pool with my friends because the weather was gorgeous. The whole time my hands were shaking.
My phone bleeped in my bag, I checked it and saw that I had an email, Apprenticeships in Fiction. My hands shook even more when I read that, I thought to myself, Please let some good come of this day, I even thought that maybe I could remember this day for the good reasons, rather than the bad. It said the names were on the website so I loaded up the page, scrolled down one name at a time. My name wasn’t on there.
Although it did mean so much to me, the news wasn’t such a blow. I’d just received some of the scariest news of my life, so this didn’t matter. I put my phone back in my bag and forgot about it, even now I look back at the apprenticeship and I don’t mind. I didn’t deserve to get onto the scheme, what I sent in wasn’t at its best standard, I can see that now.
A few weeks later I met one of the nicest doctors I have met so far, she explained to me that the amount of cancer in my thyroid didn’t deserve the name cancer. It had only been in one side, it was gone, the treatment was to stop it from ever coming back. So I can think, I am alive, I didn’t get onto an apprenticeship, but at least I am here, willing to try again in another shape and form.
So my first rejection didn’t really feel like a rejection, because it could have been so much worse.
So roll on the next rejection, and the next. Because I can compare them to that day and know that rejections don’t have to be painful, they can be lessons.