I’m leaving my ‘Things I’ve learned’ post for last, this one will need a lot of though. Instead…
Get ready, ladies and gentlemen, I’m about to throw another opinion at you. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last couple of months, so bear with me while I put my thoughts to words.
First let me state that I am a major fan of contest. I’ve placed in some, didn’t make it past the first round of others, but over all I’ve had a good response and experience from those I’ve entered. Over the last two weeks my twitter feed has been full of writers sharing their contest success stories and I make a point of read each story, because I know how hard it is to put your work out there for others to judge. These writers have done exactly that and were rewarded for it, and I couldn’t be happier for any of them.
But… There is one thing that makes my eye twitch a little, and leads to at least one or two cringes, and that would be putting the words ‘contest’ and ‘subjectivity’ in the same sentence/paragraph/post/tweet. Whatever
Contest, to me, implies that there will be winners and there will be losers.
There are no losers with subjectivity and you shouldn’t think like that and never be made to feel that way!
Some writers take it very personally when they ‘lose’ an agent-judged contest, and it makes me wonder if they have so little faith in their work that feel personally affronted by the rejection.
It also makes me wonder why some of them have to belittle and harshly criticize the entries that did make it through to the next round/the agent’s inbox. Somewhere near the beginning of the year I found a blog post in my reader by a writer who hadn’t received a request from an acquisitions editor after participating in a blog contest.
This writer was sorely disappointed with the entries that had received requests and wondered what the acquisitions editor was thinking when she requested those manuscripts. The writer then went on to question the quality of the requested entries in such a decretory tone that I was ashamed for her.
It saddens me when some writers publicly degrade what others put their hearts and souls into. And yes, I’ve seen it more times than I would like to admit. As supportive as the writing community is, it can be just as damaging if you don’t have a thick skin and the right kind of support system in place.
Subjectivity and contest aside. Let me tell you why you are a writing winner:
- You are a creator/an artist
- You are a writer
- You started writing a novel even though it isn’t finished yet
- You finished your first novel, your third, your sixth
- You had the guts to send that novel to a critique partner/beta reader
- You received feedback and DID something about it
- You are a winner because you wrote that query letter/synopsis
- You are a winner because you received your very first rejection
- And while you’re querying, you started writing a new novel
- But most important, you are a winner because YOU DIDN’T GIVE UP
There will always be contest, and agents are all about subjectivity. No, I don’t like when the two are used in the same vicinity, but there’s also nothing I can do about it except say: It’s what you do with both, and handle what they hand out, that will make the difference. On extremely good days I do believe that good karma will give you a helping hand in the right direction.
Once again I started writing about one thing and ended up with something different, but that’s part of the fun. I get to blame it on my writer brain. There you go. You get a little bit of everything. It’s a good thing I decided not to blog about the how awesome contests are, the post would be ridiculously long.
Go on with your winner self and enter ‘contests’ with an open mind and an open heart. You might be surprised at what comes from it.