I recently participated in two writing related contests. The first one, I didn’t have any agents favorite my twitter pitches, and though I was disappointed, I was looking forward to the next contest even more. From Wednesday to Tuesday, I stalked the contest page, hanging off every tip and suggestion, every hint of positive feedback and negative ones as well, always wondering if one of those was my entry.
I lost. I took it hard. Harder than I care to admit.
There are many reasons I did – some related to the writing world, others to my own personal life, but it was a mixture of many different things.
First of all, the contest was supposed to announce the winners Tuesday morning. I went to bed on Monday night, checking my twitter as I had for the past few days, expecting more subtle hints, and most of all, tips. Instead, there was a link to blogs: the winners were announced. People started thanking the contest creators for having been chosen. I quickly rushed to that first blog and looked over the list of the thirteen picks: my manuscript title wasn’t on there. I went to the other two and did the same, still nothing. I am ashamed to admit it, but I actually went back to all three blogs about a dozen times, thinking that maybe, just maybe, I had missed the title of my manuscript. I even checked the next morning again, just to see if they hadn’t changed something, or that maybe I was a little more awake, but no, my entry lost. I slept three hours that night, rethinking if writing was really something that was right for me or not.
Now my twitter feed is filled with people who keep thanking the contest organizers, keep saying how lucky they are, congratulations going around. This probably sounds petty. I’m actually happy for people who did win – seriously! – but reading the constant commentary on twitter about being chosen (the same people repeating it about a dozen different times throughout the day, as though to make sure everyone on twitter would see it) it felt like some were rubbing it in. There were 225 entries, and only 39 were picked – that’s less than 20% so the odds were never good. I guess that, deep down inside, I thought that maybe this time, my manuscript would catch a break.
Secondly, the first manuscript I wrote, I got about 150 rejection letters, and I ended up putting it on the shelf, along with my second manuscript which was part of the same series. I then wrote my third one, MY SOUL TO KEEP, and after five Beta Readers went through it and gave positive feedback on the storyline (just really a matter of grammar correction, which I did), I thought it had a chance of getting published. I know these things take time, but I have to admit that, between being a full-time fourth year university student, and a full-time single mom, time is not something I have a whole lot of. Plus, it may very well be that my life completely changes in August 2015, and that my writing time decreases even more, so I feel, to some extent, that I’m running out of time.
I’ll keep querying, to be sure, since I don’t want to give up on my manuscript, but it was just a hard fall this time. I’ll also keep participating in contests, because networking is important as well, but I think that, from now on, I’ll submit my entries, and not follow anything on twitter. I’ll check in once the contest is finished, but no more obsessing. It’s fine if you end up a winner, but if you weren’t picked, it just crushes unmercifully.
Started working on a new manuscript, and reworking my first one!
Well, back to querying,
Good luck to all going through this process!