“I won! I won!” she yelled as she bounced around the room like a rubber ball… Okay, seriously. I just found out that I won the Contemporary category of the Heart-to-Heart Contest for Unpublished Authors, sponsored by the San Francisco Area Romance Writers of America. Woo hoo!
Just to make sure it doesn't go to my head, I also found out today that I didn't even move to the final round of the Gateway to the Best Contest sponsored by the Missouri Romance Writers of America. And so it goes.
As nice as it is to get kudos for my writing, my main goal in entering the contests was to receive feedback from other writers in the industry. And I did. My manuscript has changed quite a bit from the original entry. The entry the editors and agent judged in the final round was six pages shorter–and hopefully more engaging–than what the first round judges had to read.
And, in the months since I entered these contests, I've been picking up more skills and ideas from my fellow Southern Magic members, my critique partner, writing seminars, and the many writing books that I've been reading. I feel confident that every book I write will be better than the last.
So, I'm one step closer to being published, even if I don't receive any requests for this manuscript. I'm pretty intrinsically motivated, and I'll keep plugging away even without the positive strokes of others.
Of course, I'm still going to enjoy the glow and have my own little celebration. After all, it never hurts to feel a little love, and everyone likes to be a winner.