Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I seriously debated blogging about the following but...
now I've stepped back for a day or two, I think I can manage without offending anyone or being too emotional.

You see, I finished second in my RWA Chapter's annual contest the other day. But instead of being happy, I was upset. And mad. Yep, mad. Because I wanted to WIN!! But you know what made me even angrier? The fact I reacted in such a selfish and childish manner. Yep, human it may be, but still, at my age (almost 40) I should be able handle something like this in a far more grown-up manner. And a far more professional one.

Don't get me wrong - I congratulated the winner and resent her not at all. She deserved to win. She's a great writer. And, as it happens, her name is Teresa as well, so how can I hold it against her. She even spells it the right way!

BUT, but, I wanted to WIN!!! This is my fourth time in this contest and the third time I've finalled (2nd, 3rd, 2nd). It feels like I'm banging my head against a brick wall.

It's so strange - I accept rejections better than this. Maybe because unlike rejections, which come from people I don't know, this feels personal. But just like anything else in the publishing industry, I have to remember (and was reminded by two good friends) that it WASN'T personal. It wasn't me who lost, it was my ms. The judges don't hate me. Hell, they don't even hate my ms. They just loved someone else's better.

So I'll chalk this up to experience and try not to beat myself up. While part of me wishes I could have been gracious immediately and smiled through my defeat, another part of me recognizes that as a writer I'm a very emotional person. I feel things very keenly. And bottling those feelings up doesn't do me or my writing any good. Don't get me wrong - I didn't pitch a fit or throw my scroll back at the judge. I just didn't appear too thrilled. And most members probably didn't even notice. Still, _I_ knew how I was feeling. Angry, upset, hurt and a little resentful. Very human emotions that we all experience from time to time when something we want is seemingly snatched from our grasp.

Now I'm going back to revising the ms. Did some more work on my timeline the other day and found I likely need a couple more scenes to round out the ms and fill in some gaps in the story. Only a few weeks left till National - my nose will have to hit the grindstone big time next week when my husband is back here in the office and I'm at home.


Currently Reading: Pandora's Breeches: Women, Science and Power in the Enlightenment by Patricia Fara

Link of the Day: History at Blue Web'n


Rene said...

First, how is the book? It sounds fascinating. Tough to get, I think, in the States but I might try the college library.

Second, of course you were bent out of shape. You wanted to win, who wouldn't? So don't beat yourself up because you didn't accept defeat with calm and poise. Particularly since you've entered this contest several times before, it has special meaning to you.

Alex Bordessa said...

Firstly, congratulations for coming 2nd (and being placed in previous competitions). Honestly, these are not defeats in any way; there was nothing lost at all. However, I understand how you feel, being up until recently, a serial non-placed sort of a writer.

My story actually won something only a couple of weeks ago; the first time I've ever been placed at all (only a small group competition, though it'll always mean a lot to me). But beforehand I was totally resigned that my chances of having to graciously congratulate someone else again on winning/being placed were pretty high. And I knew it would grate, and I'd go home and despair convinced my writing was c**p. You did good, be assured, and to be regularly placed is quite an achievement. Strop on! I know I will, till I get what I want :-)

Brenda Bradshaw said...

I totally get and understand your anger and frustration. Yeah, it's great to final, but c'mon! It's nice to win, especially after several placings, and you NEED to hear, "Yes, this is great and you're moving forward!" Regardless of age, we just really sometimes need that validation.

But, congrats on finaling anyway. It's STILL a credential to list, yanno!

Lynn said...

First, congrats on the finals. They're definitely something to crow about! That said, I do understand your frustration. It must be hard to come so close, to have that win just out of reach. Still, be proud of yourself, and remember all the people you beat!