What do you think when you enter a contest?
The answer depends on your personality: how seriously you take yourself, what you think about your work, and certainly your competitive nature.
Me? I’m inclined to throw in a touch of magical thinking, If you want it too much, you shall not have it.
Naturally, a little voice way down deep whispers–but maybe. That’s when the internal monkeys start their chatter. Silly, there’s a typo no one caught. What about the passive voice in that one chapter? You can’t have your protagonist so stressed the reader doesn’t have a chance to breathe. Look here at so-and-so’s book. Now this author knows how to write. Sigh.
Last November, my book, THE FLAPPER, THE SCIENTIST, AND THE SABOTEUR, won the First Book New Mexico-Arizona 2017 Award. Of course, I’d entered the competition, but I never expected to win. After all, I listened to those monkey voices, besides no one knows my book publisher–no big name there–and no funds for promotion either. I needed a different attitude, one of no expectations.
Think about all the freedom you enjoy when you have no expectations. I went to the awards banquet last November, relaxed, full of smiles, and happy to be in the company of my author friends. When they announced my name, I felt total disbelief. Certainly they’d made a mistake.
Even though I believe in my own work, being a voracious reader causes lots of grief. I’ve read some phenomenal books and wonder how authors create those deep conflicted emotions or conjure up surprising and unusual plots.
Yesterday, when the email came announcing I’m a finalist in the International Book Awards for 2017, my head felt light and my stomach felt jittery.
What do you think when you win?
Going back to my magical thinking, if I want it too much, I can’t have it, puts me in a terrific place. Yet, I’m a firm proponent of positive thinking, so to not be negative I had to eliminate winning from my mind along with all expectations. Disappointment no longer exist, and now I can truly celebrate others who win.
On the other hand, winning took away my relaxed, comfortable feeling.
Well, now what?
We write isolated. Most of us go to critique sessions and listen to other tell us what they think needs tweaking or changing. We revise, revise, and revise. Finally we have our work professionally edited. We’re using other as our yardstick, measuring the quality of our writing. We never truthfully know how our writing will be received by the reading public.
Now once again I’ve cornered that relaxed feeling because today I learned the value of winning. Winning validates our work.
How do you approach winning or deal with losing?