Sep 152023

Emails confirming your story (or other medium of presenting your heart to be judged by strangers) has been rejected hurts. It hurts like hell, to be honest. My first instinct is always to understand it as a rejection of me, of my heart, of my story and I do default to taking it personally. After all, it is me, my heart and my story.

Taking steps and setting my sights on becoming a full-time, paid well, earning a real income through my own writing has been a lifelong endeavour. One I have been confident in since I was just five years old (and have the “What do I want to be when I grow up” school assignment document to prove it. Since then, whether I was telling someone else’s true story or a characters imaginary one, I have been plodding and plotting and trusting myself to make it, just not completely.

I did the other things that were expected of me including getting a job, a good job with benefits and such, while I continued to over-extend myself in hopes of tipping the scales and making my way as a writer. So when I apply to organizations that will give me such a title and some bragging rights, despite their high membership fee and strenuous application process and get an email I am told it’s not enough I freeze. I cry. I feel miserable.

I’m used to stories being returned as non-winners, I have sent enough of those out. It’s the continuous reminders that while many say I am too busy, work too hard, do too much then the “you’re not enough” from someone who doesn’t really know me.

Meanwhile, I spend months promoting others, celebrating their success, supporting them through the “I’m not really a writer, I just want to tell a story” phase, being blamed for “you made me finish this novel” or something similar while I beg for my own recognition and carve out time to write another article, story or novel. It’s this duplicity of who I am I keep being reminded of and the concept of hard work is just simply not enough for others that confuses me.

So yes, I will always continue to write as long as I continue to breath and my heart pumps because they are all so equally important to me. I will always support the emerging writer/author and celebrate when they get something earlier than I do despite everything and I will always bounce back and find my confidence again. And I will forever hope that you do, too.

Thanks for reading and supporting me,

Sarah Butland

Author, Professional Writer, Freelancer, Journalist

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