The Mark Blog

Bookmark This: Marytza Rubio On Breaking Out of Her Comfort Zone

Marytza Rubio, 2008 Emerging Voices Fellow, shares her experience of overcoming fear of rejection and applying for the Emerging Voices Fellowship. She transformed the fantasy of wanting to write into the reality of being a writer.
“I almost didn’t apply to the Emerging Voices Fellowship because I was afraid of what rejection would do to me. It was the first time I’d applied to anything for my writing, and I didn’t know I would be strong enough to take a creative loss. I imagined the selection committee would consider me arrogant for applying and reject me outright because I didn’t go to college, had taken only a couple of writing classes, and had letters of recommendation from my coworkers at a fashion design college. But denying myself the chance to learn from writers who took their stories seriously—writers who knew what it took to transform a disembodied voice in your head into a person and a disjointed image into a story—that would be a rookie move. I figured that even if the result was not this time, try again, I wouldn’t be the one to say it. Mailing off that application meant it was more important to protect my stories than my pride.
The Emerging Voices Fellowship provided me the opportunity to work with writers who were better than me. Not just the authors and literary folk we met at public readings and private Author Evenings, but within our cohort of fellows. We were a couple of poets, four fiction writers, and a memoirist, each with an extensive vocabulary of images specific to our experiences and a library of rich references contained within our stories. The exchange of notes and the discussions of each piece meant that someone was reading your work, someone was taking the time out of their own schedule to tell you what they thought, someone wanted to see what those people of ink and memory you made up would do next. The exposure to writers and imaginations outside my comfort zone is my most treasured takeaway from the fellowship.
It’s been six years since I was a fellow, and the knowledge and friendships I developed are now part of my creative imprint. Throughout that time, I’ve had the chance to meet and work with applicants and alumni, each with distinct voices and definitions of literary success. It’s clear that although there is no single formula to becoming a fellow, there is a way to guarantee a loss: not applying.
There is a difference between wanting to apply and actually applying, just as there is a difference between wanting to write and writing. One is fantasy, the other is work. The Emerging Voices Fellowship won’t be a magic wand to conjure up all the stories you want to write on your computer while you sleep, but it will build the bridge between who you are now and the writer you are meant to be.”
Marytza Rubio, 2008 Emerging Voices Fellow, was recently accepted at Queens University of Charlotte MFA program in Creative Writing: Latin America.
To apply to the 2015 Emerging Voices Fellowship, click here.