Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Letting Go for Good

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know this is the year I’ve changed my outlook on and approach to my writing career. I’m writing what I like to write for the people I know are reading it. I’m not going to try and suit an industry ideal.

Despite this new attitude, I sometimes find myself slipping back into my old ways. One of the things I’ve had a particularly difficult time letting go of is the urge to enter writing contests. When I initially entered contests, it was to provide myself with some writing credits that might catch the eye of a potential agent or editor since I was an unpublished author. Given that I’m one hundred percent dedicated to striking out on my own, it seems pointless to enter.

Pointless yet I still feel that compulsion to enter one contest, one I’ve entered every year; the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. It could be any number of things keeping me hooked: the cash advance, the publishing contract, the chance to reach a wider audience and find mainstream success or a combination of all of the above. Whatever the reason, or reasons, I keep holding on. And this year was no exception. I polished up one of my young adult novels and uploaded it the first day the contest opened.

While I waited to hear whether or not I would move on to the next round of the contest, I continued to work on my contemporary adult romance series. I was having so much fun working on this series that I didn’t spend every day leading up to the announcement of the advancing writers obsessing over whether or not I would move on. I didn’t visit the discussion boards to commiserate with fellow entrants. I didn’t even go back and reread my entry to see if I missed anything so I could give myself a verbal beating when I found I did. I just kept working on my new series and waited to see what would happen.

As it turns out, I didn’t move on to the next round. In the past, on hearing news like this, it’s been my M.O. to shed a few tears while questioning my talent. This time, I had a different reaction. Rather than being upset, I literally shrugged it off. I will say that it helped that the day I found out I hadn’t moved on was also the day a reader contacted me via email to tell me how anxious she was to read the first book of my upcoming series.

So, not only did I refuse to dwell on this loss, which I’m quite proud of, but I’m convinced this is a sign. It’s time to let go completely. If I don’t, how else can I say I’m totally committed to doing what I set out to do at the beginning of the year?

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