I teach Creative Writing and Journalism in a large public high school in New Hampshire. One of my students yesterday received word that her book, “Imaginary Demons,” was accepted for publication by an indy outfit in Texas.
Telling the class was a great moment for her; the announcement netted a loud and heartfelt round of applause from her peers. I notified the principal and her other teachers, which resulted in more kudos and several advance orders for the book. “Imaginary Demons” is going to be part of the permanent collection in the school library.
On the same day, another student received one of the “good” rejections, a personal critique with suggestions for improvement, in response to a short story he wrote as part of NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Project. He also got a long round of applause.
Creative Writing is a semester-long course and I generally have two classes each semester. As part of the short-story unit, students are required to research markets, write queries and cover letters, and, finally, submit their work to a publication. One wall of the classroom has been dubbed the “The Wall of Rejection,” where we post our heartbreaks. There’s also a “Wall of Acceptance,” where we post our conquests. Naturally, the Rejection Wall is covered in letters while the Acceptance Wall stands mostly naked.
Yesterday was kind of the fulfillment of a dream for me. I’ve been building my program for five years and I finally feel like I’ve achieved my goal: a roomful of writers who celebrate the “try” as much as they laud the “win.”