Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Is it confidence?

I'm participating in a contest this week that has some really great conversations flowing over on Twitter. I love the chance to meet new folks and share in our love/hate relationship with writing/submitting.

Most of the conversations are funny and uplifting, but I've noticed a trend that has me a little concerned.

Some, not all, participants have some pretty negative attitudes about their chances of winning.

I understand the principle of lowering your expectations. If I enter a contest with the understanding that I probably won't win, then I can't be disappointed when I don't win.

Hello! We are writers people! Disappointment is as much a part of the process as crappy first drafts and endless revisions. If you can't stomach the idea of disappointing contest results, how will you ever deal with the horrific cycle of rejection letters?

No one enters a contest because they don't want to win. We all want to win. So own it. Claim your hope for victory and stop hiding behind a lowered set of expectations.

Some writers will say that they just don't have the confidence to be optimistic when it comes to contests and querying. I tend to be a happy-go-lucky person so I don't quite get this, but I can understand that not everyone shares my outlook on life.

So allow me to let you in on my secret. Confidence has nothing to do with it. I'm not confident I'll win this contest. I'm hopeful, but certainly not confident. 

What I am sure of is that I wrote a great novel. One that I'm proud of. If I don't win, it doesn't change the fact that I love what I wrote. It doesn't lessen the value I've placed on my work. What it means, is that I didn't win this contest. One contest, with a tiny handful of the people who are out there.

I'm confident that even if I don't win, I will eventually find someone who loves my novel as much as I do.

Confidence as a writer isn't about pinning all our hopes on a contest, a round of queries or a round of submissions. Confidence is about standing by your work. If you can't do that, you aren't ready.

15 comments:

  1. Great point! You have to believe in your own work.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Write the best novel or story you can, and after that stop the constant fretting. It will drive you to burn out, which is totally unproductive!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post. What I think many people have forgotten about this contest is that the people who will "win" are the ones who REALLY need a mentor. And so maybe, just maybe, if you don't win it's because you already TOTALLY ROCK and the timing just hasn't been right for you. At least, that's what I'm telling myself. :)

    On a side note, I've noticed that I no longer receive any email notifications from my groups in ya lit chat. Any insight on that? Thanks. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might send a message to one of the admins. Maybe your notifications got turned off somehow.

      And good point about this contest. And it really applies to every contest. Timing is a factor and so is personal taste. Your book can rock, but not rock that particular reader.

      Delete
    2. Guess what? I'm getting emails again, at least from Blogger Nation! I'll look into the others If you did something, THANK YOU! :)

      Delete
  4. This is beautiful, thank you for writing this post! I've recently realized how hard and long of a process querying is but I love my story and that's what's keeping me going :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Querying is a bear, but loving your story can make it bearable. I'm glad you found this helpful to your journey.

      Delete
  5. I agree with you for the most part. But if an agent gives you an R&R for your novel, you have to be prepared to cut up your baby and rewrite according to someone else's idea of what's best. You should have confidence in yourself, but not be so "in love" with your novel that you can't make editorial changes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point, Lexa. You have to love your work while at the same time understand that insight from others has the ability to make it even better.

      Delete
  6. Thanks for the post! It is important to balance accepting rejection while keeping hope alive.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love this! I think being confident in your work is definitely the most important thing - you can get rejected all over the place, but if you know you wrote a great story, you'll see it through until the end.

    I've noticed that trend on #pitchwars, too, and I think it's mostly just nerves talking. Personally I'm just trying not to think about the outcome - what will be will be and all that. But I agree that you should never put yourself or your work down. Thanks for the post!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

Share the love, man...