Earlier this year (in early September) I applied to the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing optional residency program at UBC. I was cautiously optimistic about my chances of being accepted, though only about 20 to 25 percent of applicants are.
Alas, I just found out that the writing I chose for my portfolio did not make the cut for the 2013 program. And I am very disappointed indeed. But that's life, and there is nothing I can do about it.
It was, however, an encouraging rejection as my portfolio made the shortlist.
"This list consists of approximately 40% of the applications received and manuscripts on the shortlist are those which our faculty feel have a great deal of promise. From this shortlist, the smaller acceptance list is generated," according to UBC.
"Our decision definitely does not close the door to another application at a later date, and indeed we encourage shortlisted students to reapply. Every writer grows by revising old work and writing new material. Should you wish to try again, we would welcome your application; to make this easier we will keep your transcripts and related application materials on file for one year."
I will probably apply again next year. Unfortunately, even though understandably, there is no individual feedback on the writing submitted so I do not know which parts were considered strong and which were judged to be weak.
The rejection motivates me to work even harder on my writing.
And I have a great opportunity to do so in the next four months.
I am thrilled that the manuscript (a jumble of 50,000 words) I just wrote in November during National Novel Writing Month has been accepted into the Vancouver Manuscript Intensive 2013 program. (I committed to this program before I heard the results from my application at UBC.)
This mentorship runs from January through May, and I am very excited to be working with Claudia Casper on my manuscript during this time.
I am very serious about writing; and I take heart from the lessons learned as a runner. If you set your mind to a goal, you can do it -- you simply need to keep at it. It has taken me 16 marathons to approach my dream of running a Sub-3 42.2K, and this year I finally got close enough to know I can do it.
The injury that has halted this progress for the past six months, and still remains to be solved, has only served to motivate me even more.
Writing is more important to me than running. It is harder too.
My ultimate goal as a writer? I just want to write a damn good book, and then improve in the next one. A more measurable goal for now is that I would like to revise (most likely completely rewrite) the manuscript with the working title Out in the Wilderness under Claudia's guidance in VMI 2013, then seek publication through a traditional publisher for the first time.
I want to run, and I want to write, and I always seek to improve in both. Life is as simple and as complicated as that.