I hope you will excuse the sports metaphors, but I just do not know another way to express the disappointment. When I climbed aboard Word Press in October I was very excited to see the supportive blogging community with all the authors and sources of great information about writing, publishing and writing contests. It had been several years since I entered any writing contests, so I thought this would be a great time to do so as a way to get some exposure.
Now we will fast forward more than six months into the adventure and my list of successes in writing contests is basically non-existent. Oh for seven. These contests were all for short stories except for one, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. You know I feel like I am pretty realistic. I don’t expect every entry to win. In fact, if every entry won then I would think there was no competition, like I was the only entry. But you know when the rejections begin to pile up another feeling creeps in: my stories aren’t good enough.
Yes, I am a victim of my own need for validation. Perhaps I should be more mature in being satisfied that I am able to write and have the chance to share my work with others. Somedays I am, but today is not one of those days. Over the last month I have opened four e-mails that declared my stories not good enough to claim either the top prize or any runner-up positions. It is enough to make one run off screaming toward the exit of the blogosphere.
Quite simply, and I will insert my next sports metaphor here, I need a win. I saw the same thing with the high school band in which my kids are members. They went through a whole season with a smattering of success and it began to affect their confidence. Then they performed really well and received some trophies. Success breeds success. This past season, my son’s senior campaign, the collected an impressive load of trophies. In short they believed and that drove their success.
So what keeps me plugging away? People I have met online that tell me what I right is worth reading. Comments I read on my posts. Invitations from others to post on their website or blog. People like Josh Magill and Marian Lanouette. Others like Roberta Lerman of the Scribblers Ink Post Group on Facebook who continually provide positive feedback. They inspire me to not only continue but to encourage others. We are all part of the same process. Yes, some of us have no desire to be published. But no one writes without the desire to have someone read it.
So, what is the next step? Do I step away and admit defeat or continue to try, hoping to find the right contest? I would like to have your input. If you enter writing contests, tell me your strategy. Tell me what contests you like to enter and about your success. I am happy to share the details about upcoming contests and would be interested to hear about them from you as well.