When I entered ACFW’s Genesis contest, I thought all my insecurities would disappear if I became a semi-finalist. If I became a finalist, I’d never be the same again. And in the wild possibility I’d win, I was sure I would combust.
Well, I’m glad to say I haven’t :). But I’m also sorry to say my life hasn’t changed that much ever since. Sure, it’s nice to remember that moment, and to have something to show for my writing efforts. I only wish I’d received some sort of unshakable confidence shot as I went up the stage. But instead, all I could think of was, “DON’T pee on your pants” (sadly, I’m not even joking).
I didn’t realize I’d still second-guess myself. That I’d still check my email frantically, hoping for good news, or still wonder if I could REALLY call myself a writer. I mean, why aren’t I walking on cloud nine 24/7? I didn’t know contest winners still deal with writers’ block, or nagging fears of rejection.
At the conference, a few nice people congratulated me on my Finalist ribbon. Whenever I could, I made sure to point out it did NOT make me any less nervous. A more gracious (and perhaps more confident) person might have just said “thank you”, but I couldn’t help remembering how it felt like to be a First Time Attendee and assume none of those finalists were as insecure as I was. Now I know that’s not always the case. The title adds excitement to the conference, but doesn’t necessarily take away the nervousness.
I hope this post doesn’t discourage anyone entering a contest out there, but instead inspire y’all not to wait to the next step to believe you’ve “arrived”. We’re NEVER satisfied. And that’s not just because we’re flawed, but because the world is. There’s still a lot of waiting that we have to get used to, aside from life’s little – or big – distractions from writing.
Speaking of which, right now I’m in Brazil, having some much-needed family time because of my dad’s health issues (he’s getting better each day, praise God). That’s the main reason why I haven’t been producing many more blog posts/novel plots lately, but I’m okay with that. I can leave my writing dreams in God’s hands for now, and not obsess over it every second (or at least I try).
But I can’t get too comfortable – Dad can’t talk right now, but he’s already mouthed to me that I need to start another book. Alrighty Lord, I thought my waiting time would mean downtime, but I guess not :). At least that means You haven’t stopped either.