Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Contests and What I Learn From Them...

You may recall I wasn't going to enter the Genesis this year.
Ok, I did. And I didn't final.
I'm not in tears and I don't need chocolate. I'm amazingly calm and I don't want to throw
darts at the anonymous judges...because they all gave me really positive comments.
So what have I learned? Well, for one thing, I know I need to fix some stuff on the first
manuscript I entered. I don't think the beginning is quite strong enough yet. But that's good to know.
Positive, helpful feedback, is always a plus from entering a contest.
I didn't enter to win anyway. I'll admit I did think that my second manuscript, the one going
out to editors any day now, would do better.
But as I have reminded myself, contests are SUBJECTIVE.
As are readers. So one out of three judges loved the story and looks forward to seeing it on shelves soon.
That's good. One in two...
So maybe I will sell a few copies. And the other two certainly didn't tell me to take up basket-weaving. They just
weren't as enthusiastic about the plot. Again, you've got 25 pages to impress.
That's tough.
I've heard some agents and editors say if the first page - FIRST PAGE - of a manuscript doesn't grab them, they don't read on.
Writing is a very hard business to break into.
I can't stress enough how important it is to really know that you're called to this. You've got to be willing to put in a lot
of time and effort for very little reward.
You have to know how to handle rejection. What to do with it and how to use it for good.
You have to believe in yourself and not give up.
And lastly, you have to know how to rest in the One who has called you to this place, because He has a plan
and it is good.
So if you're like me and didn't make the final rounds, take heart. It doesn't mean you're a bad writer. It doesn't even
mean you're not quite there yet. It just means that three people didn't score you high enough for the final round.
In the Big Picture scheme of things, is it really that big a deal?
I'm glad for those who made it, and I'm commiserating with those who didn't, but it's just a contest.
Take the good with the bad, and life goes on.

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