We’re just about ready to post the shortlist for the short story competition.  We know what this is like – anxiously checking a website, or your email, or asking the postie if she could just have another look in her bag.  Usually – all nine of us have been there – the shortlist appears, and the power of ego tells you within nanoseconds that your own name isn’t on it.

Suddenly your day is slightly less bright than it was before.

For anyone who’s about to find themselves not on our shortlist, can we offer some consoling words?

The fact that your story wasn’t chosen, doesn’t necessarily mean that it wasn’t good.  It really means that the judges-du-jour had particular likes and dislikes, and your story may not have been championed by quite enough people on the day.  Some stories we received were adored by one person, and made little impact on other judges.  Other stories polarised the judging chamber, and if they don’t end up on our list of winners, we’re sure those stories will triumph elsewhere, in time.  Some pieces were beautiful, but didn’t quite meet our criterion of ‘story’ – those pieces will find their way to a more fitting place, we’re sure.

So please don’t feel discouraged if your story isn’t on the list.  Writers need thick skins and the will to grit their teeth and persist in the face of the world’s rejection…

…although of course, we’re never really that thick-skinned.  And this, may we say wholeheartedly, is where a group of writing friends is INVALUABLE.  Your writing mates won’t snort and suggest you take up silk-painting instead.  Other writers understand how hard it is, and keep each other’s spirits up.

Sharing work with other writers is also the best way to catch all the spelling mistakes, wrong grammar, plot howlers, anachronisms, out-of-date slang, and places where your hero’s name has changed, not to mention the colour of his hair and what he does for a living.  Blush.  We’ve all done it.

To get properly hard-nosed about rejection, you might check out this blog page.  Rachael Dunlop blog

Good luck, everyone.