Shelley Widhalm

Posts Tagged ‘Rejection’

Rejection Queen

In 52: A Writer's Life, Rejection, Revising, Shelley Widhalm, Writing on April 21, 2013 at 11:00 am

Every time I get rejected from a short story, poetry or book contest or anything else having to do with writing, I have to pout.

I start with the thought that I’m a pro at rejection, a skill I learned as an elementary school student not able to fit in socially. I was the awkward geeky girl who stood outside the girl groups, barely fitting in.

My next thought, at least with my latest rejection from a writing contest, was that if I had actually won, I would have had to wonder if there was something wrong with the contest, because, as evidenced by past experiences, I don’t win.

At the same time, I believed I should have won (there weren’t very many entries), because I’ve been told that I’m a good writer and, likewise, believe that I’m a good writer. I write because of that belief and because I have to write.

But why if I’m “a good writer” am I still a collector of rejection slips?

My latest rejection slip I realize had merit because I submitted a book manuscript for “The Fire Painter” before I had finished the revision process. A couple days later, I received a critique form explaining the areas where to strengthen my manuscript, taking out some of the sting.

Following the pouting phase, I had to go through some ego bandaging. I had to get back up and try again at this writing thing.

Though I do wonder:

* Am I crazy spending my free time writing when I could be living?
* Am I crazy thinking I’m a great writer when I have evidence of rejection?
* Am I crazy for pursuing something that is like spinning in a circle of nowhereness when
I could be going forward on something else?

Whether I am or not, I’m writing again.

Hopefully next time, I’ll throw my arms out to welcome rejection as part of the process.

The Town Cry-er

In Rejection, Shyness, Talking, Vacations on June 26, 2011 at 7:28 am

I took five days off for a friend’s visit but it didn’t turn out so well. It’s the classic case of uneven liking – I like him lots and he thinks I’m more boring than eating pasta shells sans sauce.

During these five (reduced to three because, yep, you got it) days, I realized that besides hating being shy, I hate that I’m sensitive.

Actually, a better way to put it is I have a penchant for crying. You would think I would be dehydrated and ultra skinny from all the energy I burn from letting the water roll. But I have to lift weights and diet and all that crap.

Plus cry.

Add to that the fact I got my hopes up and don’t know where to put them now. In my anticipation of this visit, I jumped out of my comfortable numbness, though I didn’t know that I was numb until, well, now. I’ve been going through the motions of living as I impatiently waited for the weekends when I could sit outside and read or work on my writing.

But hey, I now see that my problem is that I’ve let my shyness keep me in this introverted state where I hang out by myself. My problem is I really do like to talk. It’s just I don’t know how to open my mouth and get words out. Sure I can talk to people who approach my dog to pet her or if I have to interview them or want to make small talk.

But if there is a pause, or silence or discomfort on my part, I don’t know what to do.

Unfortunately, after not reading a book for three weeks because I went on a vacation, tried to finish my novel editing and had this five-day visit coming up, I realized that, unlike what I’ve been telling myself, real life is more fun then books. Now, I just need a how-to book to read to tell me how to live, hence returning me to my comfort of reading instead of living.

For my dog Zoey’s perspective, check out

Read the rest of this entry »