Entering competitions - didn't realise how disheartened I'd feel(6 Posts)
I have recently taken up creative writing and I am doing a part-time evening course in it. My lecturer recently suggested that I enter a short story competition. The story was surrounding a charity I support and would have given the plight people face more exposure had it been printed.
I think I fully expected it to be shortlisted but apparently it wasn't even long listed and now I feel a bit silly and my confidence has gone through the floor. It was only for a local writing magazine and the first thing I have ever entered. The thing is a lot of what I write comes from the heart etc which makes it all seem like a bigger rejection somehow. I write mainly for myself but would love to see something in print to kind of validate the fact that I can write but I guess what I wrote would only have appealed to a niche section of society. I am surprised at my reaction and wondered if anyone else is just starting out and has experienced what feels like rejection. There was something on the results e-mail which encouraged writers not to be down hearted, your time will come but I find it hard not to think you're no good at this and carry on.
Was it the right competition for your style? I've entered some short stories for the competitions in Writers Forum, but have realised that they don't like my style - they work to a formula, and it's judged by people who write for The People's Friend. You might have more luck elsewhere? Why don't you have a look at Ms Lexia?
Mrs S. Yes, I do tend to write some gritty stuff that wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. Having said that our last bit of homework was to write A twee poem for the people's friend and it is twee and not really me but I am pleased with it and thought I couldn't do anything else except grit. I've got to read it aloud at class tonight and I've got to get back into the mindset that I can do this. I have always struggled with self esteem issues. I will also look at Ms Lexia so thank you for that. I am thinking of creating a website for this charity and putting some of my writing on it but didn't quite appreciate how much courage you need to put your stuff out there and how very subjective it all is!
If there's one universal experience that all writers share, it's rejection. There isn't a published writer out there who hasn't at some point been turned down by an agent or an editor, and for most of them it's happened many, many times.
Competitions are funny things; I think it's a bit like doing the lottery, you send off your entry and kind of assume that's it, it's going to be your lucky day - even though the odds are really, really long. I've entered a lot of short story competitions over the last few years, and in most cases come absolutely nowhere... and then suddenly a story I wrote, which had failed to make an impression in several other contests, was shortlisted in a reasonably prestigious competition and published. (Which felt really great, and gave me the boost I needed to get on and finish my novel.)
Judging of these things is so subjective, there's absolutely no reason to stay downhearted about one 'failure'. Keep writing, and keep sending out your stuff.
Don't be sad. As others have said, it is very subjective.
I have lost amateur competitions with only ten competitors who (in my humble opinion, and I do recognize that most professional writers are better than me) were really, really bad.
People like, or dislike, certain styles, and certain topics, and that is really most of it. Your skill is only a fraction of what makes you win or lose.
Just try somewhere else!
OP please take consolation from the fact that JK Rowling was rejected no less than TWELVE TIMES when she submitted her first Harry Potter novel!
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