20 June 2013

Anything you can do, I can do better

Today is all about procrastinating.  Have I worked on my manuscript? No. Have I started getting ready to go into work tonight? No. Have I started folding those clothes that are piled mountain high on my bed? Ha! No.

I could tell you what I have done today. I submitted homework online (phew) and I have played on Google.

In my eternal quest to be the best erotic romance writer ever, I have googled all sorts of things that I have little to no understanding of. For example:

- Do I need an agent?
- What do I need to do in order to get published?
- How do I beef up my writing resume?
- Are there any writing contests out there?

I found answers that I expected. Do I need an agent? The answer is no, but I will probably want one. What do I need to do in order to get published? This question had an easy answer - finish the damn manuscript (like I didn't know that already). How do I beef up my writing resume? Publish shit. Are there any writing contests out there? Bunches.

What I was most intrigued by was the contests. Maybe it's just because I'm naturally a competitive person and have been accused of being a perfectionist by *cough* a few people. I compete with myself and with other people - other writers, in this case.

And here comes the trip down memory lane...

When I was young (I can't remember how old, but I think around the ripe old age of twelve) and wanted desperately to write for Harlequin, I submitted an entry into one of their romance competitions.

Was it a finished work? No. Was it good? It was laughable, honestly. But the point was, I did it. I found the call for submissions by doing what I always do - surfing the net. And I thought, if someone else can do this, then so can I. If a person can sit down and string words together and somehow manage to produce a publishable work, then why shouldn't I be able to do the same thing? After all, isn't that what a story is essentially? Words?

It wasn't until I was much older and slightly wiser that I realized that writing was a bit more than that.  Just because I was able to read at that age, didn't mean that I was able to write, but I did it anyway. Not because I was good, but because I enjoyed it.

I can't remember exactly what I produced, but it was terrible. I wrote exactly what was required for the submission and tried to even put in a sexual punch (like I said before, laughable). I printed it out, shoved it into an envelope and dropped it in the mailbox, my mind humming with delusions of grandeur. They were going to love what I had written. I was going to be offered a huge book deal. I was going to make millions and everyone was going to be impressed that a twelve year old was able to produce such a masterful piece of literary genius.

Six to eight weeks later, I got a response.

"Thank you for your submission. The winners are as follows." Was my name on that list? Um, no. Did I let it get me down? Nah. I went right back inside, sat down at that old POS computer and wrote something else. That one sucked too, but that's not the point. I was going to be better eventually. One day Harlequin would be begging me to write for them and I had better start practicing now so I could have an edge later.

Well, sixteen years later and Harlequin still doesn't know my name. My tastes have changed slightly and now I lean more towards the erotic rather than the old school virginal love stories and have started to replace things like "quivering member" with "stiff cock". But one thing remains - the quest to be better.

So, today while I was googling and stumbled upon a site that listed dozens of active competitions, by brain started humming again. Maybe I've reached the point in my life - and my manuscript - where I can try again and submit to another competition.

Why the hell not?

What I want to know: Has there ever been a point in your life where you have finally decided to try again? Were you successful? And if you weren't, what did you do next?

2 comments:

  1. I'm really glad to hear that you are thinking about submitting a *completed* work into a competition. It's very hard not to get distracted by other things so you don't have to finish/fail at some endeavor. I would know, because I'm a terrible procrastinator, and for this very reason. If it's done, someone can give me an opinion, and I can't claim "oh its not finished yet; don't be too critical"... It simply sucks. Or in some cases, maybe more often than not, is amazingly clever and wonderful. So finish this manuscript, submit it, and if you are unsuccessful in any way for some reason, try again! I honestly cannot say that I have given myself ample opportunities to fail and try again, but if you can do it, who says that I can't too? Best of luck!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment and your support. :)

      I am a firm believer in being the creator of your own destiny. You can do anything you set your mind to. Expect to stumble, expect to fall behind everyone else. It's all part of the journey and, I believe, makes you a better person in the end.

      One of the things I love about writing is that it's all a learning process for me. I don't think that life is any different really. It's all a learning process that everyone is trying to feel their way through.

      My only advice is this: Keep your chin up. After all, it's the one who struggles but keeps persisting that we all cheer for in the end. They're the character we as readers truly care about.

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