You may know that over the last few years, I have struggled to find a place for my writing. I enter numerous competitions, and because I always go into them feeling incredibly confident, I get my heart broken a lot by rejection. There have been times when I have questioned not only my ability as a writer, but my worth as a human because of it. Yes, I am that dramatic.
Slowly, I am coming to learn that not getting things published is not always the result of necessarily bad writing. The market is very competitive, and every single writer goes into the competition with the same good feeling as everyone else. (Or maybe they don't, but they could.) Some days, you put your work in, and it gets in front of the wrong person at the wrong time. Or you put in a piece that is objectively rather good, but there are only 3 places, and there are 3 stories that are exceptional. It's not your day, and maybe tomorrow won't be either.
I'm trying to learn to accept this.
But in the meantime, I have had a windfall. Earlier in the year, I posted pictures to my Facebook and Instagram pages of a large yellow envelope containing a lot of paper. This was my application for the Katharine Susannah Prichard Young Writers in Residence program. About a month or so ago, I was told I had been shortlisted, pending the results of a phone interview, and not long after that, I was told that I was one of three writers who had been successful! This in itself was an achievement to dance around the room for, but it felt even sweeter because it was the first time I had received positive critical reactions to my work in about three years, i.e. since I left the junior category of most competitions.
Along with two other writers, I can now look forward to ten days of focussed writing in a retreat in the Perth Hills. I will be able to participate in activities run by the KSP writers centre, and I will also be doing a one on one mentorship with a local author. I think I am most excited about the mentorship. I'm in what I hope will be the final push for my book now, and the extra pair of more experienced eyes might just help make sure I get over the line. There will be a dinner, put on by the centre, at which the three of us in residence will read our work aloud, and we will also be reading at the Katharine's Birthday celebration the weekend that we are there. But mostly, I will be reading and writing. Already I am making mental piles of which books will be the most useful to take with me.
Yours in excitement,