I’ve decided this year is all about contests for me. My goal is to enter one per month and, if I can, more (I’ve entered four so far since the beginning of the year). Should anyone choose to follow me in this plan, you need to get your hands on the Canadian Writers’ Contest Calendar – it’ s magic!
So, I had all kinds of reasons why I was going to do this and I’m going to explore some more deep and meaningful ones in future weeks but, for now, let me tell you about an unexpected updside I’m experiencing.
The joy of submitting.
Oh I love submitting my work. I really, really do. I know some people don’t enjoy this phase but I think that’s ’cause they skip right by the enjoyable part and go straight to the place of ”I might get rejected“. True, yes, very true. In fact, “might” is the wrong word; the right word is “will”.
When submitting, because I know I will get rejected, the only thing to do is keep submitting. You see, every submission is a slice of hope, a piece of promise, a possibility. And the latest one is always the strongest so, as long as I keep submitting, the sting of being rejected on my older and less shiny and less exciting submissions is considerably dulled. “It doesn’t matter,” I think, “Because I just popped a new envelope in the mail yesterday! Ha-ha!”
One of the things I do to make money (unlike all the above-mentioned submissions which, in the fiction realm, have yet to earn me ANY money), is to write these things called BCRs. A BCR is a Biographical Career Report, usually running about 50 pages once complete, in which I analyze a client and try to figure out what makes them tick, what motivates them, what keeps them working.
Something that comes up quite often is the notion of goals. Not surprisingly, many of us human beings are goal-oriented. So I often end up telling my clients they do well with goals but what happens if, for example, they are an engineer working on a mega-project which has a five or ten-year timeline? Well, I often recommend they take on a side project or find something else in their life which allows them to set and achieve smaller, quicker goals to keep them satisfied as they go.
Is anyone with me yet? Has anyone jumped ahead to realize if I’m working on a novel and I like goals, maybe I need some sort of side project to keep me satisfied? Yes, good for you. Well, submitting to contests fills that need for me. I think “good for me, I finished something” and then I can go back and pick up from the 37,629th word of my current manuscript.
There’s also one more thing I really like about submitting and you’ll either be with me on this or think I’m nuts – I love the details. Adore the guidelines. All the little nit-picky things required for each magazine or publisher or contest really rock my boat. Which font to use. Which size. What size the margins should be. Is the page number on the bottom right or top centre? What needs to be on the story and what isn’t allowed to be. What information absolutely must appear on the cover page? Where and how and when is the story to be submitted?
I love getting each and every detail right. I often cut and paste the instructions into my document and then delete them, sentence by sentence as I fulfill them. “Double spaced with first line indent?” Done. “12 point Times New Roman?” Check. So satisfying.
Am I a perfectionist? Well, maybe in this one way – when it comes to the details. But as to the rest of it, no; I don’t think I am. I’m much more about “good enough” than “perfect” (you just have to read some of my favourite quotes to know that). Besides, I know if I don’t settle for good enough, I’ll never get to perfect and then I won’t be able to send my submission and we all know how I love doing that…test Filed under Contests, Markets & Events, From Tudor, Inspiration, Organizing our Writing Lives, The Writer's Path, Uncategorized, Writing as Career | Comment (1)