I love comments from people on this blog. My last post about not winning the writing contest (I will not call myself a loser) garnered some of my favorite. Some of those comments are from people I don’t even really know except for virtually through She Writes. @Word Actress (Mary Kennedy Eastham) is one of those. But, her words touched me. I sometimes need someone to give me some clear direction and she did.
Unfortunately, I feel frozen. Is this what writers block really is? I don’t think so. I think this is just plain old fear. Someone suggested I work on my short stories and let the memoir sit for a bit after not winning the contest. Others suggest climbing right back on the horse and moving on with the memoir. I can’t seem to do either one.
I sit here wanting to know what needs to be done to the memoir. I have read excerpts from almost all of the finalist (the last three will be posted tomorrow). There are some incredible works out there and I can see why they were picked. But, I don’t know how to learn from that, how to turn some of that into figuring out what didn’t work about mine. Is the writing just not good enough? Is the story not that interesting to those “in the know” about publishing? Do I need to start from scratch? I want to ask those that read the excerpt for the contest. Although, obviously, it wouldn’t do much good. They looked at 300 entries and have their own work and careers and I’m not paying them so I don’t think they would sit down and give me a critique of my entry. But, it is what I want most of all.
This isn’t just about being published. If that were my only goal, I would have likely tried to write something more commercial. I write truly for me. But, I also would like to see it out in the world, my story, my memoir. How do you learn whether it is something that will ever be good enough, or whether it was just not what they were looking for this time?
I am trying not to turn my not being chosen into a personal beating. I am still struggling with understanding. I want to move on, whether it be to keep working on the memoir or work on my fiction but I feel like I can’t until I learn something from the loss.
I am struck immediately in reading the finalists entries, particularly their cover letters that I didn’t get that part. I asked questions and researched what the cover letter was supposed to look like but mine looked nothing like any of theirs. All the ones I have read from the finalists looked like the blurb on the back of the book.
I don’t like being frozen. I know I have to do something, the memoir, my fiction, something … but it is like I don’t want to be doing it if I am just really doing it wrong.
This is a common issue for me. I want to learn and I am willing to try to fail, but if I fail, I would like some help in learning why I failed so I don’t fail again. Where do I get that?
Oh and if I didn’t already, thank you so much to @Word Actress, @coffeelvnmom, @BurgMa, @Kathy Johnson and of course @ mendid. Your words were wonderful and encouraging and truly make me want to continue and succeed, and certainly helped me feel better. Just maybe, @Word Actress is right; I should just enter the memoir in another contest and see what happens.