Wednesday, February 27, 2008

JUST CALL ME UNANOINTED

The lovely and incredibly talented Bernita has a most interesting and thought-provoking blog up this morning about writing contests. And the inevitable grumbling that will occur when, due to misguided self-importance, a writer believes that he or she "should have" won said contest hands down, OR she/he will snark about "pros" (published authors) vs. "amateurs" (the unwashed and unanointed) and so on and so on and so on...

Okay, here's the thing. If a contest is open to everyone, it's open to everyone--good, bad and ugly. Being published doesn't make you automatically better/a winner/more worthy than those who are not. It just makes you published. Likewise being unpublished doesn't mean your writing deserves more of a chance than Joe Author's because he's already "made it." You're taking the same chances, facing the same rejections. You're all swimming in the same pool and the angler's in charge and he/she is only fishing ONE of you out. That one is their choice. Hopefully the best choice, but still regardless of everything, their choice. And sure, a contest holder could decide to award the prize to Nora Roberts because she's Nora Roberts, for godsakes, even if her entry totally sucked. It might not seem fair, but it is the contest holder's choice in the end. Bitching about it only paints you a poor sport--seriously, you look like a total schmuck-loser-crybaby. Get over yourself already.

One more note before I sign off: Aside from the literal interpretations of "pro" (someone who makes their primary living from their profession) vs. "amateur" (someone who doesn't, at least not yet) I don't like those designations. "Pro" brings to mind tweed jackets with elbow patches and pipe smoking and all seriousness--"I'm a writer, you cretin. Step aside." While "amateur" speaks to me negatively: "I'm just doing this for fun!" I think I'd rather not be categorized at all. I write because I need to. I'm not published. I may never be. But I'm still going to write my stories and agonize over the details and the editing and the plot and desperately try to ignore my inner demons (does this sound like fun?) and wish I was as cool as Nora. It's who I am.

And now, I'll take my unwashed self to the showers. Thanks for stopping by!

5 Comments:

Bernita said...

Hee, WriteNow!
Thank you.

Gary Harper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robyn said...

"I'm a writer, you cretin. Step aside."

Does anyone besides me want to put that on a t-shirt and wear it to the RWA convention?

spyscribbler said...

Amen to that. It's subjective. All you can do is push yourself to be the best, but realize that anything can happen. You can't do a contest to win; you'll drive yourself crazy.

StarvingWriteNow said...

We need to sell that t-shirt in a set with one of those smoking pipes that looks like a saxophone. Then we'll make a mint!