“Dear Dr. Kramer, we were impressed with your credentials and the high quality of your work but . . . “
“Dear Ms. Kramer, Your poem was beautiful but too personal for our . . . “
“Dear Lisa, While the article you wrote does not suit our needs at this time, we were impressed with the writing and hope that you will submit again . . . “
I get them all the time, beautifully written, respectful letters that tell me I am really good, really talented, really impressive, but I still didn’t make the cut. I’m still not what they are looking for. While the above are made up examples (based off of memories from past letters) the following is from an e-mail I received yesterday:
“Dear Dr. Kramer,
Once again, thank you so much for sending in your course proposal to [. . . ]. We received over 80 applications from scholars and artists from all over the country. The committee deliberated with great care over all of them and in the end chose the three that most closely matched our curricular needs; this was not an easy task, as you may well imagine. Although your course was not finally selected, we were impressed with its quality and hope that you will keep an eye on our website [. . . ]o see when we might send out a call again.
Thank you again; we are so appreciative of the obvious time and effort you put into your proposal.”
Again, good . . . but not good enough.
Now, obviously this was an encouraging one, and I will indeed continue to apply and keep my name in the game, but meanwhile I have to deal with the emotions of what simply feels like another defeat.
Yesterday I also learned that I didn’t place in a children’s poetry contest that I entered a few months ago. (I’ll post my submissions later).
Yesterday, I began my new writing course, only to face a complete dearth of ideas. I have no clue what I want to write. I just spent a lot of money, only to have a panic attack and stare at blank pages while I call myself a fool.
I hear the sound of doors slamming in my face.
I’m tired of that sound, and I don’t accept it anymore.
Too often I’ve heard it only to discover the ideas I expressed in an interview, the suggestions I made to improve a program, the thoughts I shared along the way have been taken and used by somebody else. My ideas are always good enough to “borrow” or “steal” but I never get the job or the recognition. (I’m not saying this is going to happen in this case, just that it has happened in the past).
I went to bed feeling defeated. I woke up feeling like kicking doors down or smashing in windows.
You don’t believe me? A picture is worth 1000 words:
Yesterday, someone on Facebook posted a link to an article called “Being a Success, Without Being a Bestseller” by Dan Blank. In the article, Blank writes:
How you measure success will define the type of writing career you have. While we all dream of being bestsellers, of having the world validate our work on a grand scale, the fact of the matter is: many of us will not be number 1 New York Times bestsellers.
But that doesn’t mean we won’t be great.
Sometimes, it’s not about being a bestseller – it’s about being a writer, putting your work out there, and affecting peoples lives. Of creating meaning for others, one person at a time. Of building a legacy for your work that extends beyond your own lifetime.
Today, I am re-defining success for myself. For too long, I have set my ideals of success in the hands of others, only leaving myself open for the feelings of failure and defeat that come when someone deems that I am somehow “not good enough.” But, NO MORE! I don’t need the big paycheck. (Although money coming in would be nice to be completely honest). I don’t need the title and the accolades. I don’t need the big name company or school to recognize my greatness. I don’t need millions of readers.
What I need to be successful is to do my best and feel that I have done my best. I need to create quality work, no matter what that work is. I need to know that I have somehow reached a few people, and made a difference in this world, even if my name is never emblazoned in lights.
Success for me will be a quiet endeavor. Except, of course, for the sound of me kicking down a few doors along the way.