Apologies for being late! I planned to blog yesterday. But I spent most of the day in an intense (and fun) session with critique partners, and the evening in a judges' wrap up meeting for my local RWA chapter's contest. Critiquing was great--my revised first chapter was well received. Ah, if only it came out right the first time... Now I only have twenty more chapters to tune up.
Judging my local contest was challenging and interesting. It was a great opportunity to work with two other experienced authors, and to read the work of up-and-coming authors--some just starting out and some who have been writing a while, who've taken workshops, and who have been working hard at the craft. I feel its a big responsibility--as a judge, I hope to encourage, to help, and to be tactful and honest. And for a while, I felt as though I was in an editor's shoes--very enlightening.
When I first entered contests I received some brutal truths, but those truths helped me grow. It was tough to discover I wasn't a 'winner' the first time around. But I often think that had I sold that first book, I wouldn't have been ready to deal with life as a published author. Would I have had the confidence to deal with changes in the market? Would I have had the skills to create a second book? Would I have been prepared to deal with set back?
I learned so much from taking that first step--putting my work out there for others to read and to comment on. For those of you entering contests, I wish you the best of luck. And congratulations!