When it’s better not to be shortlisted

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I’ve read a great deal on how to cope with rejection. It comes up a lot, given how often your work comes winging back to you. But this well written and intriguing article by Suzanne Conboy-Hill gives a different slant on the issue…

Dr Suzanne Conboy-Hill - finding fiction

Recently, I failed to make the short list in a competition* I had entered. It’s not the first time by a long chalk, nor is rejection by publishers or requests for revisions to something I thought was fine in its first iteration (often it turned out better in the end which reflects well on the editorial critique), so when I say I’m actually quite relieved, it isn’t a defensive swipe at the ones that made it. Maybe you’ve found yourself in this position too: you enter in good faith, you’re shortlisted, you cheer. Then you read the stories you’re shortlisted with and the only acceptable option is to win outright because to lose to any of them – especially publicly – would be horrendous.

More horrendous though is the danger of judging one’s work within the scale of any given list and not according to an internal yardstick for what constitutes ‘good’…

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