The winners of the Sparkler Share Your World contest were announced yesterday and…I didn’t win. I didn’t even place. I tried not to be hopeful, but I’m also trying to be more optimistic. Not placing hit me harder than I thought. I’m the type of person who internalized things, so of course, my internal heckler started up with a vengeance. My thought turned negative, and I started thinking I’m no good, why did I even bother to try, I should just give up. I admit I even cried. I knew it was an overly emotional reaction, and nothing to get that upset about, but I still did. I was so ready to just stop trying, to not write creatively anymore, or let anyone else read anything I did. Doubts I’d had returned and I couldn’t stop thinking what had I done wrong.
It was hard to refocus my thoughts to a more rational line of thinking. I’ve never entered my writing into any kind of contest before. I’ve always kept in limited to a small circle of like-minded people like Elfquest fanzines and play-by-email Pern games. I’ve never had my writing judged before, and the rejection hit me harder than I thought. I spent most of the night forcing the negative thoughts away and trying to think more positively. This was just a bump. It was no reason to just give up and walk away. I had to get back on that horse and just keep working on it. I did express my doubts about my entry on Twitter, and did get a reply from one of the Sparkler editors.
I nearly started crying again, but in a good way. The reply did include some positive feedback, saying my story was adorable. I at least was able to get that feeling across. They said they were glad I entered but that competition was fierce. So what I got out of that, was that my story was good, it just wasn’t good enough. I know it wasn’t meant as a criticism, and I certainly don’t take it that way, but even if my story was good, the other stories were better. Or I didn’t do a good enough job of fitting into the theme. Or I didn’t do the right kind of feels. No matter what the actual reason turns out to be, it still comes down to 13 other creators did a better job than me, so I just have to work that much harder next time.
And there will be a next time. I will continue to put up old and new stories, fanfic and original. I’m not really interested in becoming a professional writer. I didn’t enter this contest for the prizes. I want to be someone who writes good stories, and have others read and enjoy them. That’s what really matters to me, and that is what I will continue to strive for.