Monday, February 26, 2007

Jumping in

One one of the many writer's lists I belong to, I've read about a contest that I think some of my work my be suitable for. (Provided I don't end too many sentences with prepositions).

The contest is RWA's Hearts Through History Contest. I'm not a member, but that isn't a requirement. I have not finished a manuscript, but apparently that doesn't matter either. What I DO have is about 140 pages of an unfinished WWII romance. They only require thirty and I'm positive that I could extract some of the best work in that novel and pare it down to fit their requirements.

I haven't submitted to a contest since I was a teenager, and I'm thinking that maybe putting myself out there and getting some feedback would be a good idea.

That story is like the story of my heart. I put it aside long ago when I got stuck on a plot point, but I think sufficient time has passed that I could look at it with a critical eye. The hero is strong, but the heroine required work and I couldn't find a way to make her more active and less passive. Time might have given me a new perspective and enable me to fix that.

When I've submitted to WW in the past, I received rejections, but always with positive comments and suggestions that would make the story more suitable for their publication. Getting those words of encouragement was motivating.

Should I get in gear and actually do this, I'd have to have all the editing and re-writes done by March 10. It seems long enough away, but I know it will go fast.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Giving up

I decided to give up procrastinating for Lent.

Gabrielle kindly posted comments here, and suggested that I'm afraid. She's right. Every time I go to write, I'm consumed with doubts and nagging fears that whatever I do won't be good enough.

I'm a person of faith, and yet when it comes to something like this, something I really want to achieve, I have never turned to God for the answer. Suddenly I realized how simple it is to give up something that doesn't benefit me and has the potential to paralyze me. So, for Lent, I'm giving up giving up.

I could never seem to get past what all the 'real' writers say -- "Just write." They tell you not to care what a first draft is like, just get it down and edit later. Why that seemed so foreign to me, I'm not sure, but now that I've decided to try it, I understand.

While I would never consider myself a perfectionist, failing has always seemed worse than not trying. But if I don't try, I can't succeed.

So, as difficult as it might be, tonight on this first night of Lent, I'm abandoning doubt and hesitation. I'm letting go of putting off.

When I sit down in front of a computer, writing will be my first priority. I will set targets and stick to them.

I have 40 days. If I can write five pages a day, that would be 200 pages. It's aiming high, but it's a lot better than not aiming at all.