Last Friday I got some news. At first, I didn't think it was good. But I didn't know the entire story until today.
On Friday, I heard that my entry for The Debut Dagger, a crime fiction contest held each year in Britain, had been long listed, but not short listed. And the short list is really the thing everyone wants to achieve. The short listed entries are given feedback, and often receive offers for publication. But less than a dozen entries are short listed. Out of approximately 500 total entries from around the world! (Mainly England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the U.S.)
So I inquired as to how many entries had made the long list. Today I found out that I was one of the top 25! So I guess this is actually very good news.
This long listing doesn't get me any feedback on my novel. It doesn't get my work published. It doesn't plaster my name across bookstores throughout the English-speaking world.
But it DOES give me one very important thing: hope.
Sometimes when I'm sitting here at my lap top, chugging away at yet another novel (believe it or not, I have already written THREE which I hope eventually to publish!) I can get pretty down on myself. It's easy to feel like my work is a load of crap, not worth the paper it would take to print it out and have somebody read it. I have no formal training as a writer. Nothing but that poetry class where the professor openly mocked my poem in front of the entire class. (Who would like to go first? I stupidly raised my hand.) Not exactly an ego boost! (I quit not just that class, but that entire college soon after...) So this tiny speck of validation is a reward that inflates my heart and helps me feel I can go on.
If I can manage to get into the top 25 out of 500 this year, maybe next year I can do even better. Maybe if I self-publish my first novel this year, a few people will read it and enjoy it. Maybe all this time I'm spending planted on my butt in front of this machine is not for nothing!
Thank you, blog readers, for listening to this latest piece of news and continuing to hang in there with me while I whine incessantly and hunt for validation. When I can't possibly face another page of one of my novels, I can almost almost manage to blog. And when I can't even do that, there's always Facebook...