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.