Thursday, July 14, 2011

My first bitter taste of rejection

As a hobbyist writer, or even as a professional one, it was bound to happen sooner or later.


That bitter feeling of being judged. Of being deemed not worthy enough. Ouch.
As some of you may recall, I submitted a course proposal to our local writing center to lead a two-Saturday course on NaNoWriMo.

Writing the proposal for the course was relatively easy. I took all the things I wish I had known before starting NaNo and massaged them until they became a working syllabus.

But writing the justification as to why they should choose me? Yeah, that was hard. I don't sell myself very well to begin with, but knowing that I was going to be rated on my non-existent qualifications? It was difficult but I kept reminding myself that someone was going to have to take a chance on me sooner or later.

I asked in this email for any feedback:
"Thank you very much for letting me know about the status of my proposed NaNoWriMo course for the fall. If you have a few moments to provide any feedback on how I can improve my proposal, I am eager to learn as much as I can. Was there something specific that stood out as a problem, or was it simply considered a redundancy since you already offer a Book in 30 Days course?"
Here was the response:
"My primary reservation is her lack of qualifications: no fiction publishing credits (or any other publishing credits), no teaching experience and she’s only done NaNo twice. I think her course objectives look good, her syllabus looks pretty good, the exercise seems okay BUT it assumes all students must prepare an outline even students who identifies themselves as a “pantsers” (so why even ask students if they’re pantsers or planners?). I do think a single or double session class on NaNo is a good idea."
Sigh. The class proposal wasn't the problem; it was the person proposing the class.

But, this writing center is top-notch. As a student of their courses, I have high expectations of their teaching artists, so I am going to reconcile my emotions, use this as motivation to improve my writing resume, and try again next year.

For now though, you can understand if I'm going to wallow just a bit longer. Don't judge if I self-medicate with chocolate chip cookies.



  1. Don't stress it, sweetie. There are a lot of people who don't recognize the value of others' ideas unless they have publication credits. Then the problem is they only have magazine credits, not novel-length. Then, if they do, the problem is that it's the wrong genre. Then it's that the book wasn't a bestseller.

    Focus on the fact that your ideas were good, and they had to admit that.

  2. Thanks, Margo. I'm working my way around to making it constructive criticism. Too bad the reviewer didn't know Nathan's "sandwich" approach. :)

  3. Sorry to hear that!

    "it was the person proposing the class."

    Your credentials/credits aren't your person. Don't confuse them. :)

    Margo makes a lot of good points.

    You'll bounce back. Quickly.

  4. Thank you for reminding me to keep the perspective, Hektor. My credentials do not define who I am as a person, but they sure do help land good teaching gigs. :)

  5. Yeah, teaching is very credential driven... even when the credentials don't much relate to good teaching... we lose a lot of good teachers because of this.

  6. :-( Sorry about that...but I have no doubt that these types of things are in your future. Just keep building!

  7. Self medicate away. Rejections are difficult to deal with, especially ones credential driven. But you'll come back better than ever!

  8. aww dude. That sucks. I would've totally taken that class from you cuz it would've been awesome. We'll have to settle to be NaNo buddies in november (less than 4 months!!)

  9. Hektor is right. You are not your credentials. In a year or so they'll be begging you to teach this class!


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