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August 22nd, 2015 donnahoke


Rejection (or acceptance, or notification) season was winding down as it neared time to gear up for submission season, and I hadn’t written my usual post on how to cope with it. Maybe it’s because the rejections/passes/whathaveyou just seemed to come in dribs and drabs this year—it’s a rare week that I don’t get at least one—but the last big notifications of the season were still looming, including the Lark. By the time my Lark rejection came—a pleasant and gracious form letter signed by the Director of Scouting and Submissions—it seemed like we’d all been waiting for it a long time. And so I posted to the Official Playwrights of Facebook: Aaaand there’s the Lark rejection. Anybody get lucky?”




Admittedly, the Lark’s was much nicer, but without friends, isn’t this how we might feel?


The idea? Commiseration, support, and, with any luck, celebration for a lucky playwright on our list. What happened was kind extraordinary. Everybody started posting that they’d gotten their rejection/pass, but that the sting was lessened because they knew it was coming, or because they were sharing the loss with so many comrades. One by one, the comments came in, “Me too!” “Rejected!” “Just got mine.” There was strange sort of pride in being able to post that the email had arrived, and from that emerged solidarity, even a hashtag or two. People who hadn’t submitted wished they’d had, just to able to join in (to you all, I say, “Next year!” Always submit!). One of my favorite comments came from David Lee White, who said, “I’m not trying to brag but I also got rejected by Ashland and New Dramatists.” The atmosphere was… festive.


In short, our collective rejection turned into collaborative comfort, with a lot of good humor and support, but nary a hint of dejection. A pity party? Not at all, but a party nonetheless. At the time of this posting, there are 83 comments and they’re still coming. I couldn’t have written a post that did a better job of showing how best to cope with rejection than this, which essentially illustrates more than anything I could or have written that the best part of being a playwright is the community, because they’ll be there in good times—and in bad. And that, all by itself, is a success worth being part of.



Thank you to all of you for making this crystal clear.


Here are my original posts, which aren’t completely without value ;):


During Rejection Season, A Reminder About Perspective


During Rejection Season, A Reminder About Perspective, Part 2


Consider this Part 3, and take a look.  It’s pretty great:


Donna Hoke

19 hrs

Aaaand there’s the Lark rejection. Anybody get lucky?

Top of Form

Like   Comment


John Minigan Not I.

19 hrs · Like

Cassie M. Seinuk Email or snail mail?

19 hrs · Like

John Minigan Email for me.

19 hrs · Unlike · 1

Donna Hoke Same. Like a minute ago.

19 hrs · Like

Cassie M. Seinuk I got no email yet, but I sent them an old draft of ESDO before I did a hell of an overhaul for the production. So… It’s probably a no go.

19 hrs · Unlike · 2

John Minigan However, Cassie, if you haven’t heard yet, that’s good news so far.

19 hrs · Unlike · 2

Donna Hoke John I don’t mean to imply that it isn’t good news for Cassie, but it seems to me that the norm is to let the winners know first, and then inform the rest of the crowd. There’ve been quite few things where I’ve known long before the email (or snail mail) came that I wasn’t in simply because I knew someone else who was.

19 hrs · Edited · Like · 4

Cassie M. Seinuk Ha. Yeah. It’s probably that. I wasn’t crossing my fingers

19 hrs · Like · 1

Donna Hoke Cassie I will keep mine crossed for you; maybe the Lark is different!

19 hrs · Like · 2

Jason Haskins Email to me, moments after reading this thread.

19 hrs · Like · 1

Ian Thal Just got my rejection just now. Must be an error with my database, because my records indicate that I made the submission back in 2013.

18 hrs · Unlike · 5

Angela Church email for me too.

18 hrs · Like

Sylvia Reed I really don’t want to check my email. I guess I will.

18 hrs · Like

Rob Smith And just got mine.

18 hrs · Like

Joe Starzyk Nope. Join the club.

18 hrs · Like

Gwydion Suilebhan Luckily, I didn’t apply! Feelin’ groovy. smile emoticon

18 hrs · Unlike · 15

Ian Thal I maintain a stance of cynicism with the submission process — that way, even the slightest good news feels like miracle.

18 hrs · Like · 2

Don Zolidis Haven’t gotten my rejection yet, but I’m sure it’s on its way. I never get these things, except that time that I did.

On the plus side, I got a production in Shanghai today, so that will take the sting out of it.

18 hrs · Like · 9

Sylvia Reed I haven’t gotten mine yet either.

18 hrs · Like · 1

Rand Higbee Just got mine.

17 hrs · Like

Cassie M. Seinuk Are they blanket emails? Or do they take the time to write our name and play. That could explain the rolling rejections

17 hrs · Like · 1

Don Zolidis Maybe they personalize some?

17 hrs · Like

David Lee White Just got email. It was actually a play that I wound up workshopping with some other folks in NY back in March. So it’s not a loss in terms of development but I would like to get in there at some point. The best part was that somehow reading Donna’s initial post before getting the email made it much less unpleasant than it would have been otherwise.

17 hrs · Unlike · 4

Sylvia Reed I agree, David Lee White. It’s like we’re all in this together.

17 hrs · Like · 4

Cassie M. Seinuk That’s true. There is a nice rejection letter party going on here

17 hrs · Unlike · 7

Lindsay Y. Harris-Friel Glad to see that I’m in good company. smile emoticon

17 hrs · Like · 3

Cassie M. Seinuk Just got mine! So no luck this time. But in good company

17 hrs · Like

Donna Hoke Gwydion That’s how I used to feel about not getting U2 tickets wink emoticon

17 hrs · Like · 1

Donna Hoke David That was the whole idea! Support and celebration, if there were cause!

17 hrs · Like · 3

Patrick Gabridge No word yet.

17 hrs · Like · 1

Gino DiIorio I stopped applying to that one. 15 rejections seemed like enough

17 hrs · Like · 1

Robin Rice Lichtig Got my rejection too (they name the play) There were 1300 submissions. The number has doubled since I had a play accepted at The Lark.

17 hrs · Edited · Like

Jean Hartley Sidden I got my rejection today too. took ’em long enough.

17 hrs · Like

Don Zolidis Still waiting. Is that irrational hope creeping into my thoughts? Damn it, stop it.

17 hrs · Like · 4

Jean Hartley Sidden I went to the event last year and heard the finalists and the readers who fought for them and why, which was interesting because while I didn’t think the plays stunk or anything, I didn’t think they were the next Pulitzer Prize winners either. So subjective. I’ll probably try again – they have such a great process.

17 hrs · Like · 2

Tia McGregor Just looked up what “The Lark” is. HUH. Next year!

17 hrs · Like · 2

Robin Rice Lichtig I was told that that’s what your play needs at The Lark. I know that the year I made it there was a woman on the reading committee who absolutely adored my play and fought for it all along the line.

17 hrs · Like · 6

Tia McGregor What exact lark opportunity is this post about? It seems coveted and I feel out of the loop haha…

16 hrs · Like

Jean Hartley Sidden The Lark Play Development center and they will start next years submission process pretty soon. In NYC and they give the playwright a chance to work with a director and cast over a period of time before they have their readings event. The actors are very good and I must say put 1000% percent into the reading so the play gets every conceivable shot to come across well.

16 hrs · Like · 3

Bill Cissna 1300 submissions? How many get chosen?

16 hrs · Like · 1

Ian Thal If I recall correctly, the Lark’s policy is that they accept re-submissions on the ground that there may be a different set of readers in the following year.

16 hrs · Like · 2

Jeff Stolzer I got mine, too. I typically go to a couple of the readings of plays that were selected in a given year and sometimes they are excellent and other times awful (which leaves me scratching my head). But it’s a great organization (no submission fee, unlike the O’Neill and Sundance) and this is all very subjective and tastes differ. To quote the great Annie Baker: “Just keep submitting and submit to everything.”

16 hrs · Like

Holly Arsenault Got mine, too! Hooray! This rejection party is the best.

16 hrs · Like · 5

Jello Diamond Me too

15 hrs · Like

Roy Keith Trawick Throw those rejection slips away and do not stop until you’ve made 10 more submissions!!!

15 hrs · Like · 2

Jello Diamond and the dramatists guild fellowship today too. The wording was so similar

15 hrs · Like · 3

Katie Pollock Ha, I was just looking through my submissions the other day and wondering when this would come around. Thanks for the soft warning Donna. Haven’t got my rejection yet, but maybe it takes longer to get all the way to Australia?!!

15 hrs · Unlike · 1

David Rigano Got my rejection today, too.

15 hrs · Like

David Copelin The Lark got my name wrong.

14 hrs · Like · 2

Paul Lewis Got mine!

14 hrs · Like

Scott Sickles REJECTED!!!

13 hrs · Unlike · 2

Beth Lincks In solidarity: Rejected for Playwrights Week. (But got some other good news that I can’t share yet.)

13 hrs · Edited · Like · 5

Josh Drimmer Out, but rejections don’t feel bad when you submitted so long ago, you don’t remember.

13 hrs · Like · 4

George Sapio I got one too.

13 hrs · Like

Lisa Huberman Yay! Solidarity! But seriously the one two punch with the Lark and Dramatists Guild sucked.

12 hrs · Like

Robin Rice Lichtig The reason I have continued to submit to The Lark is that the roundtable decompression day with all the writers, directors, and Lark big wigs around a table talking about the plays was the most intelligent and stimulating post-show or post-readings session I’ve ever experienced.

12 hrs · Unlike · 5

Sheila Rinear I just got my Lark rejection today, too. Glad I’m in such good company! Makes me feel not so bad.

12 hrs · Like · 1

Cassie M. Seinuk This has just become an amazing thread. #pwritesolidarity

12 hrs · Like · 2

Donna Hoke Anybody mind if I blog about it?

12 hrs · Like · 8

Holly Arsenault Do it, Donna!

12 hrs · Like

David Lee White I’m not trying to brag but I also got rejected by Ashland and New Dramatists.

12 hrs · Unlike · 11

Don Zolidis Still not out. Maybe I made semi-finalist or something? Did anyone get a rejection that said semi-finalist or finalist?

12 hrs · Unlike · 1

Kate Danley *buffs nails* Got my rejection, too. *joins the cool club*

11 hrs · Like · 2

Julia Pearlstein I don’t apply to the Lark because I find the demographic survey they demand playwrights fill out to be offensive.

10 hrs · Like

Wayne Paul Mattingly I did receive my rejection from The Lark today, but I sent in my rejection of their rejection so I’m still waiting…

10 hrs · Like · 4

Gwydion Suilebhan Personally, I find it much simpler to just pre-reject by not submitting. smile emoticon

10 hrs · Unlike · 9

Scott Sickles ^I did that with New Dramatists. #dontgetmestarted

10 hrs · Like · 1

Larissa FastHorse I took a year off of submissions. It’s been an awesome rejection season!

9 hrs · Like · 3

Gwydion Suilebhan I prefer to call it “Acceptance Season.”…/


Three Tips for Playwrights During Acceptance Season


9 hrs · Like · 8

Tess Light Rejected. But I tricked them — I figured out weeks ago that if the event is in only about 6 weeks, and I hadn’t heard, then they were probably already contacting the winners and I wasn’t one so… I *pre-emptively colored it red* on my spreadsheet. That’ll show ’em: I moved on *before* they rejected me. Ha!

9 hrs · Unlike · 3

Hope Villanueva Got mine today!

9 hrs · Like

Don Zolidis Playwrights week is Oct 2-9, it’s conceivable they haven’t contacted the winners yet. (Come on, give me some hope!)

9 hrs · Unlike · 5

Stephanie Alison Walker Got mine too.

8 hrs · Like

Bella Poynton Yepppp. Got two rejections today. It was lots of fun!!!!!!

8 hrs · Like

Tom Cavanaugh It’s not a complete week if I don’t get at least 1 rejection from somewhere!

7 hrs · Like · 1

Jacob Cox Been waiting for this rejection for weeks. Could hardly sleep. Today’s my Christmas.

7 hrs · Like · 2

Herlina Syarifudin Me too. This morning, I got email about rejection of my play.

5 hrs · Edited · Like · 1

Beatriz Cabur Guys! I’m so sorry I didn’t submit this year, I’d love to join the party!

3 hrs · Like

Joe Starzyk Is this the living definition of misery loves company?

3 hrs · Like

Jean Hartley Sidden This is great. I wake up in the morning and the guests are still arriving at the party. Donna Hoke wants to blog about it – go for it. This is much better than getting rejected alone!

3 hrs · Like

Mark Katzman rejected.

2 hrs · Like

Sylvia Reed I still didn’t get mine. I feel left out.

2 hrs · Like

Mark J. Costello I have to admit, it was one of the more graceful rejection letters I’ve received.


Rita Kniess Barkey Yup.

  • Cassie M. Seinuk Let’s toast to all of us. Submissions are stressful. Hard. And often daunting. To us
    Joni Herkimer And I did get rejected by Lark yesterday. Just saying.
    Mark J. Costello You da real MVP.
    Kelly Mcburnette-Andronicos Move over. I’m coming in. Rejected by Lark yesterday!

    Scott Sickles I’ve been submitting more this year than ever, yet sometimes I have to go and look up the places I’ve submitted to in order to discover the contest/festival/whatever rejected me without telling me.This happens a lot!See More

    Donna Hoke Scott That is the overwhelming majority and often I only find out because someone else got in.
    Hal Corley Mine startled me, only because I thought I was Lark-rejected in the spring; it was last year’s I was recalling. Time flies when you are a playwright. Except when it doesn’t.
    Jean Hartley Sidden It took such a long time that I also thought it was a no show as far as notification went. I’ll try again this submission period – have another play to send but now I know it’ll take almost a year to get word.
    Mary Bracken Phillips I think a play of mine was rejected by the Lark several years ago. Does that count?
    Sylvia Reed Never heard from them. So I emailed today and asked about my submission. Got the lovely rejection. So I’m late to the party but I wonder if I ever would have heard had I not asked.
    Duncan Pflaster I just got my rejection email at 7pm tonight. Hooray, I’m also (un)cool!
    Katie Pollock Yes! Finally got mine too. I’m in!
    Chima Clarke I got an email and almost replied …” Um, didn’t you guys do this already? Or was this a friendly reminder?”
    Don Zolidis Well now I’m sad again. I sent them a friendly email reminder. Nothing yet.
    Hal Corley ^I have hope for your status, Don.
    Don Zolidis Aw! So close! I was a finalist. In the top 24 out of 1300, but ultimately still rejected. Dang it!
    Donna Hoke WOW DON!! AMAZING! Would have loved to end the party with a winner, but that’s still pretty darned good. I’m kind of surprised that they let the finalists know last… unusual.
    10 mins · Like · 3
  • Duncan Pflaster Possibly they’re going alphabetically?
    • Eric Pfeffinger I haven’t weighed in before this point because I’d been politely asked to refrain from announcing anything until all the notifications were made, but I’m happy to report that I’m among the playwrights fortunate enough to be invited to participate in Playwrights Week. Have never worked with the Lark before and am looking forward to it big-time.
      Gwydion Suilebhan Well done, sir!
      Wayne Paul Mattingly I don’t know you, but–Congrats, Eric! I’ll look forward to seeing your work there.
      Ian Thal Thanks, Rick, for the clarification. It was when they were filling about half the slots with recommendations but not being sufficiently transparent that that was the case that aroused mistrust — especially since there was money involved.
      Don Zolidis Congrats Eric!
    • Donna Hoke Now THAT is how you end a party!!! Congratulations Eric! I’m proud to be on a list with you!
    • Robin Rice Lichtig The champagne corks POP!!!
    • Alan Sharpe That’s GREAT, Eric. Congratulations!

Please follow me on Twitter @donnahoke or like me on Facebook at Donna Hoke, Playwright.


  1. 1 Midge Guerrera said at 3:44 am on August 26th, 2015:

    What a lark! Well, e-mail rejections just don’t make great wallpaper but I do feel powerful after I log them and press the delete button with love and joy.

  2. 2 donnahoke said at 8:33 am on August 26th, 2015:

    What’s awesome is that we ended up with four finalists and 133 comments (so far)!

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