Wednesday 5 October 2011

Insecure, Moi?

The premise of the Insecure Writers Support Blog is here, so I'm not going to explain it again. There's also a link on the same post to all the bloggers taking part, so please have a look and check out a few of them!

So, why am I insecure this month?

Because I didn't win a competition. In fact, I didn't win two.

My writing 'career' has been a little bit hit and miss, as you can see for yourself if you check out my Writing CV. There's lots of activity - like last year, for example, when I placed in three competitions - followed by a vast desert of non-publication. Every time I reach this desert, I feel like my writing life is over, done, finished. (As a writer, I feel it's my duty to be melodramatic!)

This year, as with every other year where this has happened, I've been locked away working on longer pieces of work, forgetting to submit - or not submitting at all, while telling myself I really ought to - to magazines. So I know there is a legitimate reason - ie. it's my own fault! But that doesn't help - I don't want rational thought. I want to wallow! But, on the other hand, while I'm wallowing - I mean, working hard on the bones of a novel - new names are emerging, new talents are changing the goalposts and moving the short story market on a few notches.

Competitions are my lifeline, my one way of proving I still exist - it's much easier to send out entries to comps than to research markets and email covering letters. So, when I don't win, don't come second or third, don't even make a mention on the long-list, I wonder if I'm still really here...


  1. Annalisa,
    I had a long encouraging comment ready to go, then I read your three short stories.(Don't know how I missed the link before).

    Please keep writing. You're still here, trust me.

  2. Ohhh competitions. They make or break us! I go through phases with them. I'll join every one and never win so I stop for a while because I get frustrated. Then, once I find my confidence again, I join until I burn out again. lol. One of these days, I'll win. As long as we keep trying, right?

  3. Annalisa-

    You are talented. I loved reading those short stories. Keep plugging along and don't give up.

  4. Jennee - they're certainly a test of character!

    Donna - thank you so much. I ummed a bit about adding that link. But I suppose self-promotion is the only way to go!

  5. Hi Annalisa! I'm a fellow IWSG blogger and I wanted to check out a few new writers I had not yet had the pleasure of reading.

    Now, you and I are vastly different in that I do not write short stories, only novels--or rather novel, as in singular. But I think entering writing competitions is not unlike querying for an agent. We put ourselves and our work out there for judgment in the exact same way. So I can totally understand being upset when you don't win something. It's kind of like me when I get a query rejection. But no matter what, there is always another competition, another agent to query, and the next time might just be THE ONE. So hang in there!

  6. Hi Nancy, thanks for dropping in. You're so right - it'll take a long time for both of us to exhaust our markets!

  7. Oh course you're here! And if you were beside me I'd offer you a piece of my brownie pie. Because while writing is important, it's not the only thing in our lives. You can't forget dessert.

    I'm simply impressed that you've won competitions at all. Granted, I've only entered one (and lost..I think..kinda forgot about it till now) but I find them a lot more terrifying then sending things out to magazines.


  8. You're way ahead of this cowpoke -- I got an honorable mention in grade 7 (where there were no prizes) and haven't submitted since. Does the publication of my job count?

  9. Jenny - that brownie pie sounds good! I find magazines much worse.

    Will - I've been around these blogs telling people how much further on with their writing than I am, that I forget what I've achieved so far. Although entering comps are the first step to winning them :-)

  10. Contests are subjective - don't rate your skills as a writer on winning a contest. I've never won one! Just focus on what you can do. We only have so many hours in the day.

  11. Hi Alex, are you attempting every blog on the list?? Yes, they are subjective, but that makes it worse somehow - knowing that if that same person had read your story the next day when he was fresh and had a good sleep rather than cramming it as his last one when he's tired and grumpy, I could have been on the short list!

    (And it's long-winded and cumbersome sentences like that which mean I ought to win all competitions lol)

  12. Hey, new follower and fellow insecure writer here. Boy do I understand what you're talking about. It KILLS me when I get up the guts to submit something for a competition, and not only don't win, but don't even have anyone mention it. It's like, wow, I must be the worst writer ever. Plus, you know, being unpublished and all. Not fun. But as Alex said, contests are subjective. They don't always show who's the better writer, or who's story is the best. They're great exercises for getting our work out there and getting comfortable having strangers read our work, but it shouldn't be a way of judging OURSELVES. Keep at it - I'm sure your work is amazing, contest or no.

  13. I definitely agree with everyone... you ARE still here, and don't you ever believe otherwise.. keep at it, and never give up :)

  14. Welcome to my blog, S.L. Thanks for your kind words, and hopefully you enjoy my other random ramblings. I'm off to check out your blog now.

    WritingNut - thank you. I don't think I'd ever truly be able to give up. I love writing too much, and I'm convinced my big break is out there somewhere!


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