Greetings, fellow writers and readers! I decided it was time for an update on our contest entries. Can you believe it is November already???
Deadline to turn in submission forms: 6 weeks 2 days
Deadline for submission of stories: 8 weeks 3 days
Announcement of winners: 17 weeks 1 day
Are you getting excited yet? We still have a little bit of time left, but the end is in sight!
I am still working on mine, and these final few weeks bring up a few new challenges.
1) The "Oh, no, this is a mess" challenge
The deadline is approaching and your story is only halfway done. Or it's completely written but has major plot holes. The challenge here is NOT TO PANIC.
This is where SPINDLE was a week ago. And it was not cooperating. In all honesty, I wrote and rewrote a dozen times. It was like pulling hens' teeth and I couldn't seem to get anywhere. And then suddenly it just all smoothed out again. I have absolutely no tricks to share because I'm not even sure what happened. The only moral I can hand out is to keep working and praying, and don't panic.
2) The "I hate editing" challenge
Your story is beautiful, and now it needs to be edited. But which part? How do you cut away the inferior without damaging the good? I have two pieces of advice for this:
One, save copies. This contributed to my level of sanity during the editing process and occasionally came in very handy. I save my completed draft as is. Then I open a copy of it to chop away on. This way I don't feel scared to make changes because I can always go back to the previous copy if this round of edits isn't working.
Two, get some feedback. Find a friend or a writing buddy who will read your story and tell you what they think of it. I have a couple writing buddies who will read my story in exchange for me reading theirs, which is less expensive than a professional editor. But it really helps to have someone outside your own head who can see the story with fresh eyes. Sometimes their feedback acts as a confirmation, too, perhaps letting you know that the scene where Geraldine bakes a cake is just as beautiful as you thought it was. ;)
3) The "How do I know I'm ready" challenge
I know very few people who do not struggle with this one. You've poured weeks into your story, but the thought of letting it take wing is a scary one. Once you click "send", you can't make any more changes before it is judged. It's got to stand on its own merits.
Some of you will be able to step back and judge objectively. Your story is the best you can make it. Or, at the very least, your story is the best you can make it in the time allotted.
For some of us, we might have to settle on a deadline. "I will make improvements to my story until _______ (fill in date) and then I will send it in."
And really, for most of us, it will be a balance between making continuing improvements and settling on a deadline.
And then you just have to trust. And submit your story. And trust some more.
4) The "How am I going to survive until March" challenge
You've already sent your story in. And it's been 5 whole hours.
Yep. I haven't submitted my story yet this year, but this is where I was last year. I was counting down the days until the Announcement Day. I wondered if anyone had read my story yet...and what they thought...and countless other things.
How do you wait so long while your baby is on its own?
Anne Elisabeth Stengl's posts were like lifelines. While she never gave specifics about my story, she talked in general about the contest. And it made me feel connected.
Speaking of connected, interacting with other entrants makes a difference, too. It's fun for me to think of my story sitting in a judge's inbox along with yours.
And you'll settle into the wait. Time goes very slow and then it goes quickly again...Until just before the contest is announced. Then it goes slow again.
Enjoy the ride. ;)
Now I want to hear about your progress!!! Where are you in your story writing? Did you finish your first draft? How is editing going? Have you sent your submission form yet or submitted your story? Do you have any tips to share with the rest of us? I am so grateful for friends who are writing in the same contest as I am!!!