Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Autumn of Her Discontent

A new, young, and very talented writer recently bemoaned her honorary mention placement in a local writing contest. Surely she should have done better! She even sought out the judge and consulted her to determine “what she had done wrong.” Of course, she had done nothing wrong, and had obviously done many things right; as we all know, judging is selective.

I told her this honor would look great on her resume, and who would know it was a small contest? An award is an award, and she had entered her work in a contest for the first time, which takes a lot of courage. For some of us it’s akin to the nightmare of being naked in school without your homework. And yet we do it.

And, with her first entry, she had won a prize. She should have been thrilled, and I hope she is by now. Perhaps, as gifted and as determined as she is, she is still unhappy about the outcome. That may spur her on to continued improvement I her writing, so perhaps that discontent will work for her. For me, I’ll take happiness, even if I wish I’d done better.

So October 25th’s advice at was perfect: Celebrate every writing success and never lose your sense of wonder about each opportunity.

We’re taught to be modest in our personal lives, but most writers must blow their own horns to get noticed. It goes against the grain for most of us. But do list any writing success in your resume, and be proud of it.

And please take a moment to send me your favorite rejection letters! see details at my blog:

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