The writer’s White Whale.

Don’t call me Ahab.

Remember LiveJournal? I feel like all I did on there was complain my way through middle and high school (and, I admit, college): nobody loves me, nobody cares about me, nobody filled out my seventy-question survey. What a tremendous and melancholy bore I was.

I’m trying really hard not to turn this blog into another emo-shame-spiral of posts, but sometimes being a writer sucks, and it’s just so much more fun to write about sucky things.

I got rejected twice yesterday: in the morning by an awesome job and in the evening by an awesome residency program. Nice bookends to a Tuesday, right? Since I haven’t printed them out yet to add to the pile of rejection letters that any self-respecting/masochistic writer has on her desk, I might as well include them here, in the interest of being green (and my forgetfulness and procrastination):

 
This is a note to say that we made an offer for the “social media job,” and filled it. We’ll be announcing it soon on the blog, but I wanted to give you a heads-up first, as someone who completed the questions.
 
Honestly, almost everyone who applied could have done the job, and most would probably have been excellent. The applicant pool was simply wonderful. The applicants represented many different directions we could take the company. It was hard choosing and–now that it’s done–it feels terrible to “say goodbye” to so many “possibilites” [sic] and so many great people. But we think we made a great choice–two smart and energetic people with diverse experiences. We wish we could hire you all, but two was one more than we thought we’d hire.
 
Thank you again for appling [sic] for the job, and for completing those questions so thoughtfully. One of the first tasks of our new employees is to read many of our favorite answers.
Best,
Tim

For some reason, the glaring typos soften the blow.

Thank you for submitting a Winter/Spring 2014 Fellowship Residency application to Playa. Our review panel found it difficult to select residents from among the many worthy applicants, and I must unfortunately report that you were not among those chosen for a residency at this time.

We are grateful for the time you invested in this process, and truly wish we could offer residencies to everyone that applied. Unless you advise us otherwise, your name and information will be retained so that we can send you news and updates about programs at Playa

I wish you all the best in your creative endeavors.

Sincerely,

Lisa Pounders
Residency Director at Playa

Again: that missing period at the end of Paragraph Two makes me glad I won’t be associating with such heathens this winter. It’s the little things.

Naturally, I was pretty blue by the time the second rejection rolled in around 5:00. But I didn’t beat myself up or feel like I was worthless (which is maybe how I’ve handled these in the past). Instead, all I kept thinking was: when it’s a Yes, it’s going to feel earned, and right.

Because at some point, a decision will come down to me and another person who is equally good, and who knows what minuscule criteria will separate us? And one day, those fickle margins will skew in my favor. And there’s something more than earned or right about that; it’s magical. No wonder writers put themselves through hell. The Yes is intoxicating, addicting, and worth the self-imposed hell. (Or, at least, I hope it is because I don’t really have a backup plan.)

Regarding my last few posts: I think rejection makes me a writer way more than simply “wanting it” does. Because wanting is passive; rejection is the byproduct of action, of risk. These letters aren’t in a pile on my desk to discourage me. They are proof that I tried.

The Yes is my White Whale, and I will keep flailing and failing until I finally get one.

And then I’ll start the whole thing over.

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2 thoughts on “The writer’s White Whale.

  1. I’m confident you will find a position. I think it’s easy to forget how young you (we) are and how much of a shock it would actually be to be where you want so early in life. I’d go as far as to say that It would be almost disappointing. You’re right that when it happens you will feel that you earned it, and you will know how lucky you are to have gotten there.

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