Today is all about procrastinating. Have I worked on my manuscript? No. Have I started getting ready to go into work tonight? No. Have I started folding those clothes that are piled mountain high on my bed? Ha! No.
I could tell you what I have done today. I submitted homework online (phew) and I have played on Google.
In my eternal quest to be the best erotic romance writer ever, I have googled all sorts of things that I have little to no understanding of. For example:
– Do I need an agent?
– What do I need to do in order to get published?
– How do I beef up my writing resume?
– Are there any writing contests out there?
I found answers that I expected. Do I need an agent? The answer is no, but I will probably want one. What do I need to do in order to get published? This question had an easy answer – finish the damn manuscript (like I didn’t know that already). How do I beef up my writing resume? Publish shit. Are there any writing contests out there? Bunches.
What I was most intrigued by was the contests. Maybe it’s just because I’m naturally a competitive person and have been accused of being a perfectionist by *cough* a few people. I compete with myself and with other people – other writers, in this case.
And here comes the trip down memory lane…
When I was young (I can’t remember how old, but I think around the ripe old age of twelve) and wanted desperately to write for Harlequin, I submitted an entry into one of their romance competitions.
Was it a finished work? No. Was it good? It was laughable, honestly. But the point was, I did it. I found the call for submissions by doing what I always do – surfing the net. And I thought, if someone else can do this, then so can I. If a person can sit down and string words together and somehow manage to produce a publishable work, then why shouldn’t I be able to do the same thing? After all, isn’t that what a story is essentially? Words?
It wasn’t until I was much older and slightly wiser that I realized that writing was a bit more than that. Just because I was able to read at that age, didn’t mean that I was able to write, but I did it anyway. Not because I was good, but because I enjoyed it.
I can’t remember exactly what I produced, but it was terrible. I wrote exactly what was required for the submission and tried to even put in a sexual punch (like I said before, laughable). I printed it out, shoved it into an envelope and dropped it in the mailbox, my mind humming with delusions of grandeur. They were going to love what I had written. I was going to be offered a huge book deal. I was going to make millions and everyone was going to be impressed that a twelve year old was able to produce such a masterful piece of literary genius.
Six to eight weeks later, I got a response.
“Thank you for your submission. The winners are as follows.” Was my name on that list? Um, no. Did I let it get me down? Nah. I went right back inside, sat down at that old POS computer and wrote something else. That one sucked too, but that’s not the point. I was going to be better eventually. One day Harlequin would be begging me to write for them and I had better start practicing now so I could have an edge later.
Well, sixteen years later and Harlequin still doesn’t know my name. My tastes have changed slightly and now I lean more towards the erotic rather than the old school virginal love stories and have started to replace things like “quivering member” with “stiff cock”. But one thing remains – the quest to be better.
So, today while I was googling and stumbled upon a site that listed dozens of active competitions, by brain started humming again. Maybe I’ve reached the point in my life – and my manuscript – where I can try again and submit to another competition.
Why the hell not?
What I want to know: Has there ever been a point in your life where you have finally decided to try again? Were you successful? And if you weren’t, what did you do next?