Whether to have a crisis of confidence, or just get on and write better…


Last year I entered a writing contest. I didn’t win, but I placed pretty highly (top twenty). Yay for me. I entered again (this particular contest has four rounds a year), with a story I knew wouldn’t win – just to reassure myself that placing wasn’t easy. Sure enough that story didn’t even make the list of around 100 named as making it to the long list. So placing highly was some kind of achievement. Yay for me, again (not to sound too self-congratulatory…)

Good. So then I wrote my best damn story ever and entered that for the current round, feeling pretty smug and sure of myself that I would, if not win, at least get into that top 20 again. The results have just been posted, and guess what. Not a win. Not top 20. Not even on that freaking long list of around 100. Nada.

WTHeck? That was the best I could do. And it didn’t even place. Maybe I didn’t even send it right (nope, I got an acknowledgment). Maybe the reader was having a bad day. Maybe I really do suck as a writer. Maybe I should just pack it in and buy a PSVita and spend the rest of the year playing Uncharted.

Right. That would be a solution.

Actually, I’ve got a better solution. Write a better story. Yep. Gotta keep improving as a writer. If I want to win this competition then I need to write my even better best damn story ever. In fact, I’ve got the idea down already. And I’ll start writing it tomorrow.

And, on another note. I’ve got to remind myself that contests and submissions are all something of a lottery. You’ve got to buy a ticket to win. Sure, it’s important to write well, but it’s still a whole lot to do with what’s going through a particular editor’s or judge’s head on that particular day.

That story? I’ll be send it to a pro market soon. Actually – tomorrow. You’ve got to buy a ticket to win.

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