Sometimes, in a sea of rejections, it’s hard to keep my head up. I’ve spent the last year focusing on short stories because I find that the abbreviated length helps to spend my learning process. Still, I’ve yet to make that first professional sale.
Each quarter for the last year, I’ve entered one of my stories in the Writers of the Future contest. The first quarter I entered, my story received an honorable mention. Every quarter after that it’s been a swift rejection, which is okay. You know how I feel about rejections.
But then, for Q1 of this year, I didn’t hear back. Rejections rolled in. Nothing. Honorable Mention and Silver Honorable Mention notices went out. Still nothing. Weeks went past. Most of me figured my entry had gotten lost, but part of me wondered if maybe, just maybe, I was a finalist.
Then, one night after I had gone to bed, the phone rang, and I heard a woman’s voice on the other end of the line say, “Hello, Molly. This is Joni Labaqui from the Writers of the Future contest.” I was one of the eight finalists for Q1!
This is a huge success, and just the encouragement I needed. In the end, I was not selected as a winner, but there may still be a chance for it. Joni asked if I would let them hold my piece until the end of the year for possible inclusion in the anthology as a published finalist, so I may yet get a yes this year.
The best part about this is the boost of encouragement. “Keep on writing,” is what this says to me. So, I will. I’ll keep on writing, and hopefully, at some point down the road, my nos will turn into yeses.