Wednesday, January 5, 2022

ISWG: When I thought Writing was a Contest

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times attending my first conference. My second son was only 6 months old and not used to me being gone. Let’s just say my mom and husband deserve a medal keeping him occupied for that day.

I wore my “Writer” conference badge like a medal.  I even walked taller when I went to get gas.

And then there were the pitch sessions. Every single agent/editor made a request. I got to meet the illustrious Andrea Brown in person.

I felt like I was at an American Idol audition and got the golden ticket!

But the bad news was I only had a really polished first chapter, although the rest of the manuscript was complete. I only had to show a first chapter in my pitch sessions. They didn’t see the rest of it. The saggy middle, the ending that needed tons of work, my thousands upon thousands of newbie mistakes.

I had a writing mentor at the time. She’d read the full and was working with me on revisions.  She graciously read it more than once. And after the third time told me that it still wasn’t ready.

But. I. Had. Been. Chosen. 

No one could've talk me back from the ledge of my dream as I was just about to take flight.

So I sent it out anyway.

It was a few months before the first rejection came in. Still, surprisingly that editor had a few good things to say.

I got very little feedback from anyone else. And by that time, I’d had enough distance from the whole thing to see that I'd rushed.

It took me some time to recover. It wasn’t my last writing mistake. But it certainly was the one I learned the most from.

Just because someone shows interest, doesn’t guarantee publication. It’s always better to wait and revise and wait some more before sending something out. Check your pride at the door. By the time you finally get something published, you’ll be so surprised, you won’t believe it.

That first conference was a hard lesson, but a good lesson.

I don’t regret it. And I don’t regret my other writing mistakes. I keep learning as I go.

I've had some successes since, but right now, I'm trying to smell the roses , enjoy the journey, and remember that writing is not an American Idol contest.

What is the one thing you regret the most about your writing career? Were you able to overcome it?

What is Insecure Writer's Support Group?

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

 To see more IWSG posts, go here.