I started entering romance writing contests this year amidst much trepidation. Was I ready? The only way to find out was to submit. Imagine my surprise and delight when the first response I received was that I had finaled! What a relief, and the validation felt good.
I also submitted two different versions of the opening to my story–one which I and others thought was much stronger. One version went to two contests, the other to two more. I’ve now heard from three of the four contests that I’ve entered and lost twice (the weaker version won). 🙁 Some of the comments I expected–I can’t write cops accurately. Nope. I’ve spent very little time talking to law enforcement. (I am looking for a compassionate US Marshal to talk to about my cop, you know, just in case someone knows of one.)
Reading comments the first time was gut wrenching and necessitated the solace of fermented grapes. Quit? No, just taking a short breather while I digest this. ALL writers experience failure. It’s part of the initiation, though that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow (wine does! 🙂 )
I remind myself there are plenty of mega-popular writers making a terrific living from their stories, but I don’t enjoy reading them at all. So, after a day or two I’ll get back to writing with great ideas for improving and the spirit to carry on. There is so much to learn and I want to imbue my story with emotion, setting, mood, atmosphere. Like a fine wine, my writing needs to age. (Pffft! I should really look into writing comedy.)
For now I’m sitting out contests over the summer while I grow as a writer. Being a finalist in the Daphne doesn’t seem possible, but there’s next year. Besides, I can’t let down all of these awesome followers I have on Twitter. And most of all, I want to celebrate accomplishments. That means I can’t give up!