You know that feeling—a thought you get excited about? And then an opportunity arises and your eyes widen? Maybe you’ve been toying with an idea for a while and then, magically it’s right there in front of you. You know you are perfectly capable, the timing is perfect, it’s a fantastic opening and there’s nothing to lose. Without deliberation, you go for it—full steam ahead.
The feeling is amazing. You are immensely proud of yourself and feel as though you could reach to the sky.
We’ve all been there, right? When we believe in oursleves and trust our instincts, great things happen. We all know how wonderful life can be when doors open for us. This is how I felt before I applied to be an Elephant Journal Apprentice whilst living in Switzerland. I was a chronic diarist and adored writing. I’d seen the advertisement, and then again. It just kept popping up. I did a little research, discovered what was involved and knew the course had my name written all over it. I poured my heart and soul into the application.
I felt a deep sense of knowing that I would be accepted. And of course, I was.
The Apprenticeship commenced in January 2017 and I was committed and eager to learn throughout. The experience was invaluable and four fantastic months flew by. The climb into the world of literature and journalism paved my way for an ascent into the heady clouds of novel writing. The Elephant Journal Apprenticeship really was my flight path!
Later, I completed a six week beginners' novel writing course and my story began to form wings. The following year, with the same enthusiastic approach and many hours of research and resolution, I applied to Brunel University in London to study my dream Masters Degree, The Novel: MA.
I was so proud of how I was progressing and so put all my eggs in one basket, applying for just the one course. After all, this was the one and nothing else would suffice. When I received the email from Brunel with the word Congratulations on the first line, I was lifted sky high, then abruptly brought back down from the clouds quickly. Along with my basket of eggs, I sat broken.
Take-off was halted as I read the words:
“while we have not been able to offer you a place on the course you applied for, we are pleased to make you a conditional offer on an alternative course which we feel you are more suitably qualified for.”
I was confused. I’d been so sure I’d gain a place. The pursuit for The Novel: MA had been exciting and I was pretty sure I was capable of it just like when I applied to Elephant Journal. I wanted to write my novel, but Brunel University had other ideas for me. Instead, they offered me a place on MA: Creative Writing. This course included journalism and fictional short story writing.
This wasn’t what I’d applied for.
I thought about the reasons why I hadn’t been accepted on the course I’d applied for and realised what I had failed to do. In my haste, I hadn’t submitted excerpts from my novel in the application; instead, I’d submitted my published Elephant Journal articles, along with other published short stories and poems. With my head in the clouds, I hadn’t focused on the runway in front of me. Brunel had seen the Creative Writer in me, but not the Novelist. I hadn’t shown them what they needed to see. I’d presumed my novel writing could be presented later. Brunel University had needed to see it first.
The lessons we learn take us forward to reveal our true potential. We simply need to see the positive message behind it. In my case, the course I accepted opened up exciting and valuable opportunities that I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. I’d dismissed the course previously, but now I can continue writing articles and submit my novel for the dissertation.
It couldn’t have worked out better. I adore journalism, article writing, and short stories and so this has, with hindsight, been a silver lining.
We are writing our life stories now. Don’t presume that others know what you are capable of. Gather all the information you need and apply yourself appropriately. Show them what you’re made of. Don’t tell them. We can’t always succeed by putting our eggs in one basket.
Instead, we need to stamp them with precision as well as trusting our instincts so we can be open to other opportunities, enabling us to reach sky high.