Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ups and Downs

Thanks to a cold, I've been feeling down all week-end. Not the best frame of mind to pick up the May issue of Essentials magazine to discover that I didn't win their writing contest. In fact, I didn't even make runner-up.

Part of me is saying "Cheer up; at least you made the top 20 shortlist." That same part reasons that it's only a short story of 1,500 words and maybe short stories just aren't my thing.
A rather louder voice in my head is saying that maybe my writing is just crap and there are many others who write better than I do. I've consumed rather a lot of Haagen-Dasz Belgian chocolate ice cream in an attempt to silence that voice. Lucky for me, the ice cream is working.

On the plus side, my company has bought me a brand new laptop to work on. It's very nice but I can't get too comfortable yet as one of the bosses is now toying with taking this new one and letting me have hers. In the meantime, I've taken Jackie's advice and started re-reading my manuscript. And she was so right - I'm rediscovering my passion for it. Though the new story is burning to be told, I've written a rough synopsis for it and gone back to the WIP. So far I have 6 chapters I'm pretty happy with, three of which I've circulated to my crit group. I plan to keep on editing in the hopes that as I go along I'll see clearly how to tie up the ending.

Now more than ever, with this fresh rejection pushing me, I want to finish this manuscript and send it off to the RNA. I need a fresh and objective opinion to tell me if the voice in my head is right or wrong.


  1. Romy, you sound like you could use a virtual scarecrow for your crows of doubt - like me! Anyway, glad I could help re re-reading. Isn't it great when you get enthused again?

    Don't get too down about the contest. Contests are hugely subjective and I don't think they're a good measure of whether you can write or not. If you're writing for publication, the only opinion that really counts is the editors. However, the RNA feedback sounds like it could be hugely useful so get your story done, and send it off to the RNA. You'll get there. I'm sure of it.

  2. I think everyone has these moments Romy, I know I certainly do. But the feedback I got from the RNA really helped and I can drag out the positive comments if I'm tempted into that 'everything is pointless' place...

    So good luck with getting the ms finished and sent off. And until then there's always Haagen-Dasz...

  3. Romy, I think making the final 20 is a huge acheivement and proves you CAN write.

    I'm the in same boat re the RNA - ie need to finish the ms.

  4. Congrats on making the top 20. So-o many factors go into competitions for short stories. The difference between a winner and runner up in one competition was simply the emotional range shown. One story allowed for a large emotional range (every emotion in the book was described I kid you not) and the other didn't and that was the criteria they used to separate them. The competition was a very open one, genre wasn't specified, neither was what the judges were looking for. So it was interesting to see how they make their selection.

    I can't believe that after everything you've been through your boss might decide to have your nice new laptop for herself. I actually want to kick her.

  5. You said it yourself - you've been down all week - which is why you're beating yourself up about your writing! Take some vitamins and pull yourself up to the level you're really at! And that's the level of an author who gets noticed! The next step is being published so just keep doing what you're doing!

  6. Romy - Haagen Daz didn't work???? :( Your writing is great Romy, so focus only on the positive which is that for you to make it to teh TOP TWENTY of the Essentials competition is GREAT!!! And well done on the word count for Playboy Duke - you're going great guns so keep up the good work!

    BTW - how do you get that word counter thingy to add to your blog? I think it's great and must learn to add it when I start my new story in June.

  7. I'm with you and Suzanne -- needing to finish ms and get it off to the RNA. Sorry to hear about your nasty r -- but have faith, hopefully you will get a great reader who will give you tons on invaluable advice and get you on your way.