Sunday, March 04, 2007

Advice to Workshop Applicants, Part 4

And now comes the hard part: rejection.

Out of all the hundreds of applications to the workshop, only a handful will be chosen. Conversely, many will be rejected. Yours could be one of them. So how do you deal with it?

In the first place, get the right perspective. It's your application that's being rejected, not you personally. Oh, I know, you've invested so much in your work that it's almost part of yourself; but learn a bit of detachment. Trust me, it's healthier.

Rejection could mean that your work isn't ready for a workshop yet. It may need a bit more polish or a bit more of maturity, in which case it's back to the word processor for you. Think of it as a favor: workshops can be quite merciless, and if your work isn't ready for it just yet, you've just been saved from the emotional turmoil.

Rejection could mean that your work isn't up to the tastes of the screening committee. I know it's tough, but that's the way it goes. The screening committee is experienced and accomplished, yes, but in a way they also have their own preferences and predispositions. I've already given you some clues as to what they are. If you want to get a better feel of their tastes, look up the works of the workshop panelists.

Rejection could mean that there were 15 (or 10) others whose work was better than yours At This Time. Your work could be ready, it could be up to the tastes of the committee, but due to the logistical nature of the universe, they just couldn't accommodate you At This Time, much as they might have wanted to take you.

Here's a fact: it's taken some folks several attempts to get into the workshop. Some have gotten in only after their second, third, or fourth tries. One tale I heard tells of a heroine who got in after ten (a paragon of persistence I'm sure not many can match.)

If you're rejected, you're in good company. Sulk for a day and curse the gods, if you must, but get back to living and writing afterwards.

Remember: it's your application that's being rejected. Not you.

(And even if your application is rejected, come visit Dumaguete anyway. It's still a great place, workshop or not; and at today's promo rates, affordable, too.)


  1. I find it simpler to assume that I as a person was also rejected. Given that we live in the Virtual Age, when strangers from opposite sides of the world can meet in "Cyberspace" and soon call themselves friends, we are what we write. A rejection of my work is a rejection of me.

  2. Simpler doesn't necessarily make it right. And certainly not healthy.

    Writing is -- or ought to be -- only one dimension of a writer, not its totality.

  3. Oh God. Thank you for this priceless bits of wisdom. I was just about to seal my application and send it off through LBC...before I stumbled upon your site. I love you already! :)

  4. God? Everytime I get called that it's because I did something bad, like: "Oh, God! What did you do THAT for?"

    Good luck on your entries, and hope to see you in Dumaguete

  5. Thanks, Dom. This part speaks to me.