Today we have American Christian Fiction Writer's (ACFW)Vice President, Pamela James guestblogging with us. Since she's such a good friend, I wanna tell ya this disclaimer: I don't think she's a flunkie...but the title she picked for her post was avidly cute.
So without further ado....here's Pammer James:
CONFESSIONS OF A CONTEST FLUNKIE
It is so exciting to be here.
I haven't done much contesting, but what I have learned may help you out. My father said, "There are two types of people in the world. Those who learn from the mistakes of others and the "others"."
I have to admit, I am one of the 'others'.
My advice to you is to enter contests. Enter plenty of them. Polish your work to the best shine you can get and enter it again. In 2005 I entered three contests. I had a friend who entered so many she lost track, but she shall remain nameless, right Cheryl? :)
But DO NOT enter if you just want someone to tell you how fabulous a writer you are.
All of the Fab Four entered the Genesis contest (back then it was known as the Noble Theme, it's last year being called such, in fact). Three of us made it past the first round. Camy Tang, Cheryl and myself. I just KNEW I had a good entry and since I wasn't being pitted against Cheryl or Camy I figured I had a pretty good chance of winning or at least placing in the top three, right?
Well, I didn't. Cheryl and Camy both won First Place in their categories.
As I mentioned, we all entered more than one contest. Cheryl, Camy and I didn't final in all the contests we entered.
I would like to point out the two of us three that are published. God's timing? Yes, and. . .I didn't have the right heart. I wanted to hear how wonderful my talent was. I missed the meaning and the blessings of contests.
Cheryl and Camy took those scores, read the comments, LEARNED from the judges comments (even the ones I thought were unkind), and APPLIED those suggestions (that's all they are you know from someone who knows what they're doing) to their writing. Their work got better and better.
I took those comments and grumbled. The judges didn't get me. They didn't understand my story. How on earth am I supposed to tell the whole story in one chapter? If I did, why write the rest of the novel. I even asked Cheryl to help me find some good in one judges comments (not sure what contest).
In fact, I was so upset and down about the contests, my hubby (the fixer) forbade me to enter any more contests since he didn't know how to make it better for me.
Instead of growing as a writer and a person, I spun my wheels. Worked on the same novel for three years. It was rejected twice.
Last year God softened my heart. I finally understood that critiques and judge comments were meant to help and not hurt. If I could apply what I learned from a crit or a comment I could have the joy of seeing my work improved. What a blessing to have so many people willing to show me the ropes. I have been learning from the fabulous people He has put in my life. And I think my writing has improved. It's not there yet, but it's getting there.
Learn from my hard lesson. Enter contests with the right expectations and the right heart. If you final or win, then that is a plus. I think your main goal should be to improve your writing and you will definitely get that if you allow it to help you.
Faith Based Intrigue: Visit Pamela on the Web
When danger and faith collide.