Of course the unspoken inverse of that quote is that you miss many of the shots that you do.
Back in December I applied for the Michener Fellowship, which is a fully funded MFA program for writers here at the University of Texas.
Today, I got their form rejection in my inbox. This is not unexpected. Nearly 1,000 people apply for just twelve spots.
Still, it sucks.
Yet, I’m glad I applied and here’s why:
- I had to step back and assess my work as a whole to put a writing sample together. It was illuminating to read my stories over in light of what they said about me as a writer.Whether I decide to apply again or not, I think this is something I’ll keep doing.
- Writing a statement of purpose made me think about what kind of writer I am and what kind of writer I want to be. Most of the time, I’m necessarily focused on a particular project and on carving out the time I need to complete it on a day-to-day level. It was useful to step back and think about the big picture.
- Applying is an act of faith regarding the pursuit of my writing as something important and real. Right now it’s less than a career, but more than a hobby. Some disappointment along that road is the cost of a meaningful pursuit.
So, today I’ll mope a little and commiserate with friends. Tomorrow it’s back to the work. I’ve got lots of stories to write this year.