I’ve got two things to say today about rejection. The first humorous, the second serious. First of all, I just barely got an email from Yale telling me that I wasn’t accepted for the librarian position. I can’t remember which position this was–it would have been one I applied for about ten months ago. Nice of them to get back to me, though. I’m sure that if I hadn’t found a job yet, that rejection would have been yet another devastating blow. But I have a job–one I like very much, so I can just laugh at it.
Now, my next observation about rejection is focused on this ABNA thing. I’ve been reading the discussion boards over there, and I’ve been amazed at how people are approaching the “rating” idea. So many of them are saying something along the lines of “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” by which they mean that they’re only giving positive reviews. If they read something they don’t like, they’re not reviewing it. This seems to run so counter to the whole idea behind improving your writing. If people only told me what they liked about my stuff–and never what they didn’t–how would I ever get better? If I only heard praise, how much more devastating would it be when I finally heard criticism. There are 850 some odd people left in the competition. In a month, it’ll be down to 100, then 10, then 1 winner. To quote Highlander, “There can be only one.” I’m going to get eliminated. It happens. When it does happen, I’d much rather have an idea what people didn’t like in the excerpt they read than to think that everyone loved it, but I lost anyway. The result of that is the other trend I’ve been seeing on those ABNA boards: people are disgusted that they didn’t make the cut. They’re convinced the contest was shoddily run and is meaningless. Well, all I can say is that people need to get their skin thickened some, or they’re never going to make it as an author.
That said, I have yet to receive a single review. Maybe I’ll start crying when I get my first 1 star . . . (NOTE: This is not a request for someone to give me a 1 star review.)