Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Contest Woes: I Feel Your Pain

Tomorrow morning, the PAPfest entries will go live on my blog as well as Mindy McGinnis's and MarcyKate Connolly's.

If any of the entrants are reading this post, I imagine some of you are old hands at such contests, while others may be contest newbies. Either way, I want you to keep my own contest experiences in mind.

Some blog readers may remember that last spring's Writer's Voice contest was a big part of the big, crazy frenzy that resulted in me signing with my agent less than two weeks later. I had several requests from participating agents, lurking agents, and through a handful of queries I'd sent just before the contest went live.

Super-awesome, right? Dream come true, right?

Yes.

But.

I almost didn't enter.

I'd tried another similar contest for two years straight (different manuscripts) and nary a peep from an agent either time. Not so much as a request for five measly pages. There'd been a "preliminary" round beforehand, and I'd gotten through that both times. Someone had at least sort of liked my work.

Hard to remind myself of that with the silence surrounding me.

The silence hurt more than any number of query rejections. Mindy can tell you about talking me off the ledge those days.

But I did come down off that ledge. I kept writing, kept learning, kept working, and eventually it all came together. (Now I have the same old insecurities in whole new ways, but that's another story.)

I'd love it if every entry tomorrow gets requests. I hope that happens. But if it doesn't, those of you who receive the silence, I understand. It's okay to be bummed and let it hurt ... for a little while. A good critique partner will let you wallow in it just long enough, and then they'll remind you it's not the end. You're still awesome. That awesomeness can only come out if you keep putting it out there, one way or another.

Send some queries.

Revise some pages.

Work on a new project.

Just keep going.

10 comments:

Jayme said...

So true! Thanks for the reminder and for co-hosting PAPfest! :)

Rena said...

This is so true. It's funny, but I bet you went into Writer's Voice full of worry and doubt. I read all the entries for writer's voice and starred the ones that I thought would pique some interest. Yours had three stars.

And I bet there's someone out there right now with the same concerns, and someone has three stars next to their name and they don't even know it. Keep going!

Laurie Dennison said...

Thanks for this post, and thank you for hosting. I'm so glad theses contests keep introducing me to other awesome writers!

Alison said...

Thanks so much, for this pep talk and reminder. It's another reason to really be thankful for our CPs--they're always there no matter what. :)

Rachel said...

Thanks for this! That is the exact reason I almost didn't enter this contest. Your encouragement and support feels great. :)

Tina Wexler said...

Smart advice. Writers, take note!

Amy said...

We have all needed to hear this at some point. Thanks for the great post.

Carissa Taylor said...

The other thing I've noticed re: the Cupid Contest is that a lot of agents saved up their arrows for fulls (so as not to risk having partials stolen) ... meaning there may have been manuscripts they wanted to request on, but couldn't for lack of arrows.

What this meant in the end for all us writers is that there was less opportunity to get a partial request. Whether query or contest, this journey to publication is certainly full of ups and downs!



Tiffany said...

I needed this today! I'm in the "no love" section of the cupid contest. The MGs and Adult fiction entries are sadly empty of arrows:(
I'm entering another contest tomorrow with a different MS - back on the horse!

Tiffany said...

I needed this today! I'm in the "no love" section of the cupid contest. The MGs and Adult fiction entries are sadly empty of arrows:(
I'm entering another contest tomorrow with a different MS - back on the horse!