I just received my rejection from the WCDR’s Wild Words competition. I had submitted four pieces of which I had high hopes for one of them. The Grinning Man was a particularly strong piece. It wasn’t an also ran piece, it was a top ten piece. That is what makes this sting so much.

There have been many wise words of advice about rejection and the writer. It is a rite of passage, apparently, to have a pile of rejections letter. It shows effort, it proves that I have been writing. It is a badge to be worn proudly.

I don’t like it one bit.

I had a whole rant written about judging, but a nights sleep and some very wise words from my wife and former teachers, Dorothea Helms and Ruth Walker, I hit the delete button. I have been know to be opinionated and too fond of preaching from the top of my soapbox. I have acknowledged that and have entered a three-step program at the local rehab clinic who assures me I’ll be better in a week 😉

Do I sound bitter? I suppose I do. It’s one thing if I fail, but when my group of peers also fail? Makes me question my place in the grand scheme of writing. Recent e-mails from a colleague and friend of mine (an excellent writer in his own right), show me that I am not alone in feeling this way.

It is my opinion that writers create, editors polish and publisher/agents promote. But now-a-days, it seems that all of the above is falling on the shoulders of the writers. Coming from a strong retail background, this is bad business. Not all great storytellers are 1) English Majors, and 2) rich enough to afford professional editors OR to have the time necessary to self promote.

All that aside, I have an amazing group of writers to ground me and I have a passion for telling a good story. I like playing with words. I like evoking strong reactions from the reader and creating rich descriptions and real characters. I am also fortunate enough have a strong base of readers, you, who genuinely like my writing, and family and friends that support me.

So I will write on thanks to Ruth Walker and Dorothea Helms, the Write Brains and the Wild Bunchers, but mostly to Sue.

I still don’t like that writing today is judged predominately on spelling and punctuation when the emphasis should be on the story, but that just means I have to make the story strong enough they don’t see the rest.

About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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6 Responses to Rejection

  1. Lisa says:

    I know what you mean. I long for the days when writers could just hole up in a cabin in the woods somewhere and write without worrying about anything else. Did those days ever really exist?

    Well, we can’t work with what isn’t, we can only work with what is. I’ll continue nitpicking your spelling and punctuation and you can do the same for me.

  2. Hi Dale

    I figure the rejections keep us humble. I don’t want to creep into that zone of being a writer without a list of best sellers (or even published works) that has that air of “I am a literary genius”. We all know people who fit that bill, and it ain’t pretty.

    Rejection reminds us to keep working. Be brave, be patient, work hard. (the words the very humble Wayson Choy said to me).

    PS – I think you are a romantic…look at you, saying you’ll keep on for Sue. Did you score some brownie points for that? You should have. 😉

    • Dale Long says:

      Gosh durn it, ain’t I always purdy? 😉

      Sigh, I supose it does keep us striving to be better. Thing is, I always had that mentality. I’m not one to rest on my laurels.

      But, I suppose I have to wait my turn in line. Just don’t have to be happy about it. Seeing as how the line consists of you guys, I can’t complain.

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