I am a contest slut.
There, I said it.
I didn’t used to be a contest slut. It just sort of happened.
It started innocently enough . . .
In February of this year, I entered a contest . . . and then another and another. I’ve lost track of the number of contests I’ve entered since then, somewhere in the neighborhood of eight or nine. Not so many, when you consider the number of romance contests there are out there. Still, it’s a lot for me. I don’t do contests, and the last thing I won (before this year and my foray into contest slutdom) was a prize at a birthday party in the fifth grade for carrying the most dried beans across the room on the blade of a knife. Seventeen, in case you’re wondering. I won a set of jacks. For those of you too young to know what jacks are, it’s a game we played in the Dark Ages before there were Nintendos and Game boys.
But, I digress. Back to the subject at hand: contests. They are a kind of pleasure/pain. I love the anticipation of the unknown, throwing my work out there to see what happens. Terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.
On the flip side, I hate waiting around for the results, especially when other people on the contests loops are announcing they’ve made the first cut, and I’m left sitting at home sulking and singing the ‘I suck’ song.
But, I LOVE finding out just when all hope is lost Obi Wan Kenobi that I made the cut after all! And then the whole anticipation/angst cycle starts again as I wait to find out if I’ve won or placed in the top three.
Heady stuff. Who knew I was such a masochist?
Oh, yeah, and then there are the critiques. I started entering contests for the feedback. By and large, I have found the feedback to be constructive and helpful. Of course, you can’t bend and twist with everything every judge says or you lose your voice. What one judge likes, another may hate, and so on. But, I have had some very good suggestions out of contest judges to make my work stronger, and that is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Making the work stronger?
Nah, it’s all about the happy dance you do when you find out after months of waiting that you’ve finaled or won. Let’s face it, writing can be a solitary, lonely business, and it’s nice to receive validation of your work.
While writing this blog and toying in my sad and needy way with the idea of entering even MORE contests, I e-mailed a member of my writer’s group for advice. Do I need contest rehab? I asked this wise woman. Should I enter this one or that one? I asked, while secretly hoping for permission to enter all three. This woman, a regular on this blog who shall remain nameless, but whose initials begin with LOUISA CORNELL, informed me in no uncertain terms that I am a mere piker compared to her. I think the number she tossed at me was something like NINETEEN contests entered in one year, but that was only the ones she FINALED in, so the actual number was really more.
So, maybe I’m not such a slut, after all. Maybe I’m just a little loose around the edges. If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a few more contests to enter before I can earn my bustier and thigh high boots.