A few weeks ago I touched down long enough from the cloud I was floating on to let everyone know I had made it to the top 25 of the Save the Cat Competition. It was an exciting moment, and if you want to read about it, check it out here.
Today I am writing a very different type of post. I learned yesterday that I hadn't made it into the top five. And while I would have preferred to have made it (of course!) I am still incredibly proud of myself. I gave myself yesterday to be sad about it, because emotions are legitimate and we need to let ourselves feel them, but today I am ready to continue the journey.
I'll start out by saying congratulations to the five who did made it in! A success for one (even people I don't know) is a success for all!
And now let's see why I still won, even though I lost! This will be a pretty self-centered post, but I am hoping you can take what I am saying and apply it to whatever dream you have tucked away ready to be achieved!
1) If I'm going to be a good protagonist for my own story, I have to meet some challenges!
Something I have harped on in previous posts about plotting is about how you have to give your characters challenges. If life was easy for them, it would be incredibly boring, and that's not what we want. The same's true in real life. I had a taste of success, so I know I should keep going, but now I just have a new hurdle to go over. And you better believe I will not be the type of protagonist who just sits down and claims defeat. I may cry while I'm doing it, but I will still do it!
Side note: Hi to other HSPs (Highly Sensitive People)! You are not alone, and you can do whatever you want, even through your tears. Empathy's your super power, especially as a writer or in the other arts. If you are someone who's never heard of HSP, I suggest you check out some information, especially if you feel like you might be defective because you seem to feel things more strongly than others... it's likely that biologically you do! You are not defective; you are designed to do so.
2) I still have something to put in my query letters.
A couple times in my MFA I needed to write a blurb about myself as an author. This was incredibly difficult when I had nothing to put into it. This website helps, but being a semi-finalist in a national competition helps a whole lot more. Now I can enter a room knowing I'm not just smoking something... I have some talent and with more hard work and dedication I will make it into the top five.
3) This was the first script I have ever written.
So, a little thing I don't think I put in my previous post... I have never written a script before the one that made it into the top 25. Yup, it was my first attempt. So can you imagine what my 10th, 20th, or 30th will look like? I for one am excited to find out. And I will never be as scared to submit my scripts to a competition as I was this time! Confidence can't be bought and I call that a big win!
4) I've come a long way from where I started!
The thing I am most proud about it how far I have come as a writer. Only a few short years ago I spent more time talking about being a writer than actually being one. I went to teaching school because I listened to the people tell me I couldn't make a living as a writer. People who, by the way, have read none of my creative work, so why the hell was I listening to their unsolicited opinions?
Anyway... Then I finally made myself join an MFA. I felt a bit sheepish about this decision. I already had one master's degree and was well into my career by that point. Why would I spend money on another one which wouldn't guarantee me anything besides a few more bucks each year in my current position?
I did it anyway. I know some writers don't need and MFA. It's not the only way to become a writer, but it worked for me, and it's where I met wonderful friends who, gasp, have the same ideals and wants as I do. It's a lot easier to convince yourself you're not crazy when you aren't in a room talking by yourself!
Before my MFA, I had rarely finished any piece of writing. I would start one, then get excited about something else and move on. I hear this isn't rare in what I am dubbing "the pre-writer world". In that world you spend a lot of time talking about writing, a little time writing, and no time editing.
Now, I finish the works I start. I still need to improve my editing skills (I'm more of a storyteller than a writer... I'll write a different post about what I mean), but at least now I have something to edit! Something I can practice on.
So summing it up, this has been my writing progress so far:
denying my desire to write
writing a little and finishing nothing
dedicating myself to a program
finishing works and learning to edit
working on my writing platform
writing and finishing things that aren't an assignment
sending my first script out to my first competition
applying to writing fellowships
making it into the top 25
I can't wait to see what I will fill in that #10 spot. I've got some ideas: finishing my novel, participating in the 48 hour film festival, winning one of the other competitions I entered, or of course... getting into a fellowship!
So the question I have for you is what 'no' are you letting hold you back? How can you turn your loss into a win? Let me know! And until then... I wish you...
P.S. Hit 20,000 words on the novel today... so the first draft is well on its way! That's around 82 printed pages according to my Scrivener!