Last year at this time, I was just starting out in my effort to give writing a serious shot. I'd had one tiny victory, so I was feeling confident as only a newbie can. I was 100% stoked to upload my chapter. Everyone would love it, right? Naturally, it was going to be awesome. I had an awesome story. I had awesome characters(still last year's thoughts). I was totally going to make the first cut.
Except I didn't. Okay, regroup. This is okay. I'm going to make that callback list for sure! Wrong again. Hmm, maybe I'm doing this wrong...
I know, I'll get a couple craft books. That will square me right up. More questions emerged. I'll take an official, pay-lots-of-money, several-month writing class. This will teach me(and it did) lots of things I'm doing wrong. I'll write, and rewrite, and rewrite. Read more craft books.
One year later, I've probably read 30 craft books, of which 20-or-so I own. I've joined RWA, national and local chapter. I've got a writing group. I've been to a couple writing conferences/seminars. I've got an awesome Critique Partner. I have written approximately 120K words (on one story), and submitted it. I've learned a lot, and I've invested a lot of time and money in doing so.
Which brings me back around to my terror. I desperately want to enter, and I will do so, but this year I've lost my newbie-confidence. Instead of being certain my idea is great, I oscillate between certainty that the idea is golden, and even sharper certainty that it will be universally reviled. How's that for being a walking contradiction?
The other thing that scares me is that somehow I've started to think of this single contest as some kind of validation. If I make one list, or get X-amount of positive feedback, or whatever... that it will prove this year and the associated $$ will have been a wise investment. And, of course, when it doesn't, will that mean I've wasted my time?
There are writers who have been doing this for years and are in the same boat, and a year in I'm already asking these questions. No idea what that means, but I do feel a bit like a whiner even expressing these feelings.
I'll definitely enter, come hell or high water(though if both come, I make no promises). And I am excited to do so. Despite my terror. I am trying to manage my reasons for entering.
- I find participation in these large-scale events invigorating. They remind me why I love to write when I'm struggling with self-doubt.
- Someone has to win, and sticking with the contest through the whole process will allow me to learn, first hand, what it is about different entries that garners attention. What did they do right? How can I implement this?
- It is genuinely fun to read all the different entries, especially when I may not otherwise approach a particular subgenre.
- May possibly gain some insight as to whether my story hooks are too off-the-wall(which I am actually very worried about).
Going to have to stop worrying about all this and actually write the damned book soon! Like... now.