So, I entered my first manuscript in a competition.
There, I said it.
It was a growing experience for sure. It forced me to look at my writing honestly. I ended up changing one of my main characters’ names and deleting my entire first chapter as a result, which were both very good things. (To be honest, I always liked the second chapter better.) During the process, another chapter resulted later in the manuscript, which had nothing to do with the competition but was a huge turning point in the little somethin-somethin that my story was missing.
My loving friends and beta readers I am so, so grateful for got so many texts from me:
“How can I rephrase this?”
“Is this too scenario too far-fetched?”
“How do the changes in this paragraph sound?”
“I know you just critiqued this chapter one, but I decided I like another chapter one better”
It’s a labor of love, people. Or would “It takes a village” be more appropriate to say here?
Finally, my friend and other half Amanda told me gently that I was reaching the point of over-thinking things. Well, to be honest, I’d reached that point and had already circled around the block a few times.
When I was finally ready to submit, I filled everything out and then discovered I had to have a headshot. SO glad I didn’t wait until the submission deadline to send in my entry because I definitely didn’t have a photo with a high enough resolution. I commissioned my friend Meseidy to do some head shots for me, knowing how awesome she is at photographing pork butts and plantains among other things as a Puerto Rican food blogger, and they turned out fantastic. Can’t wait to post them soon.
Then, she switched from photographer extraordinaire back to great friend, encouraging me as I sat at her dining room table, having difficulty pressing Send. Not sure why I was so nervous.
For now, I’m sticking with these rules for myself:
1) I’m keeping myself very busy until the results are scheduled to arrive. Not that that’s hard, or anything. But I am working on a new and exciting project!
2) There’s no way I’m going to open my entry again because I’m sure I’ll find all kinds of things.
3) My friend, Kara, who’s entered and finaled in Genesis before, said that when the results arrive, I shouldn’t read them in a public place. Excellent advice!
4) I’m trying not to have any expectations. This is my very first entry, my first completed manuscript, and even if my writing isn’t up to the judges’ level, their expert comments will be invaluable.
5) If at first I don’t succeed, I’m going to try, try again. I’m mentally preparing myself, on that vein, to not let criticism paralyze me, but to embrace it and allow it to make me better.
Hopefully I won’t look back at this post someday and laugh.
But I think the most important thing to realize out of this, out of taking risks and putting myself out there, is my motivation for doing so. My wonderful husband has sacrificed so much for my writing and supported me all the way. And I can only hope that someday my Allie Girl will be inspired to work hard and go after her own dreams.
Have you ever entered a writing competition?
What steps are you taking to accomplish your goals?
I’d love to hear!