I’ve always loved words

I’ve always loved words
Author: Brian Duggan

I’ve always loved words; so much so, in fact that I even wrote my college essay on what exactly I planned to do with my own. I will always be the one with her head in a book. I even collect misprinted copies of classic novels as a hobby.

In June of 2018, one month after from my college graduation, I was sitting on a hotel bed in Concord, MA. Another job rejection letter email glared at me from my laptop. For an entire afternoon I let that letter drag me down and away from my writing. (My whole reason for being in Concord was for a fiction writer’s workshop.) A friend found me in my favorite coffee shop, offering an ear.

“Have you considered publishing?”

The Worst Thing They Can Say is No

A week later I was back home, brimming with inspiration for a new short story and a new career path. I scoured the web looking for masters or certificate programs – something that would give me a leg up in the applicant pool. The Columbia Publishing Course is one of the oldest and top programs in the country with featured alumni in the big name publishing houses. I was too late for the 10-week New York Program. But their Oxford program was set to start that September.

The only problem? Applications were due one week ago.

Instead of once again losing an afternoon, a mentor of mine called their office explaining my situation. They urged me to still submit an application. A month passed with no notice or confirmation. So I continued on applying for job after job, receiving rejection after rejection.

2 weeks before the program was set to start, I got a call. A spot opened up and it was mine to take. So I expedited a new passport (mine had expired June of that year), packed my bags, and headed to England – beyond excited to learn so much more about the world of words.

And 2 months later? I got a different kind of letter – a job offer from an independent publisher in D.C.

Key Takeaways

  • You have a voice – so use it! Never shy away from asking questions. One email or a phone call could make a world of difference.
  • Leave room in your two, five, or ten year plan. (But definitely have a two, five, or ten year plan.)
  • Everyone should travel alone once in their life. Find a new place and explore it like a local. Eat dinner alone at your own table.
  • Networking matters and works! Whether it’s a summer camp or an internship, make sure to get emails and send thank yous.