Over a thousand writers stared at their phones yesterday, willing them to ring. Only around 150 of them received the call they were waiting for. Yesterday the Romance Writers of America (RWA) announced the Golden Heart and RITA finalists.
One of the largest writing organizations in the world released the names of the finalists for their biggest contests in the most successful genre of book publishing. That’s a lot of superlatives.
The atmosphere on Twitter for those following the hashtags was a combination of stress and party. Noelle Pierce summed up the situation:
“The romance world is aflurry, as #RWA announces the #RITA and #GoldenHeart finalists. This is like Oscar nomination day. Only with books.”
All the writers knew it was a long shot, especially for those entering the hyper-competitive categories. But still… They hoped.
They hoped for the same reason we might buy a lottery ticket. Sure, the chances of winning the lottery are minuscule, but we still hope it’ll happen to us. If we didn’t have that hope, we wouldn’t buy that ticket. Similarly, writers wouldn’t enter these two contests, which don’t give feedback, if they didn’t hope to win.
The writers probably tried not to think about it. They tried to distract themselves. They thought they were doing a good job of not thinking about it until their other phone—the number that RWA doesn’t even have—rang, and their heart rate shot through the roof. *ahem* Not that I’d know anything about that reaction.
In the end, most of the writers waiting for that phone to ring never got the call. I know I didn’t. And even though I certainly wasn’t expecting to final, it was still a bummer to lose that hope.
So I am genuinely happy for all the finalists. I’ll cheer for them at the big awards show during the RWA conference, and I’m looking forward to giving them congratulatory hugs in person. But I also had to find a way to deal with my internal disappointment.
Chocolate, Silver Linings, New Goals, and a New Outlook
Sometimes a situation is simply a bummer. It happens to everyone. The only thing we can control is how we handle it.
I tweeted congratulations to all the winners, and my family (being the wonderful, supportive family they are) took me out for dinner and chocolate frosted doughnuts. (Sometimes life cries out for chocolate, yes?)
Then I looked at the silver lining in not finaling. Now I don’t have a killer deadline for the edited full manuscript. My internal deadline for the revision edit can be more reasonable.
Finally, I came up with a new set of goals. Many of us feel better if we’re working toward something, so I planned my revision schedule. That was all good until I thought about the step that would come after that. Querying.
I suck at queries. Really and truly suck. And I would have loved to be able to write the magic words “Golden Heart Finalist” in the subject line of my sucky query, but no… *sigh*
That’s when I realized why I was so bummed about not finaling. What I really wanted wasn’t the accolades (although, sure, they would have been nice too) but for the publishing path to be easier.
Yeah, right. We can all stop laughing now. Drafting, editing, querying, publishing, marketing… Whether we traditionally publish or self-publish, it’s all hard. Until it isn’t. Once we finish one of those stages, we know we can do it again the next time.
The hard part is not knowing if we’ll ever succeed, if we’ll ever finish that draft, make those revisions work, find an agent, etc. The “not knowing” can drive our issues with self-doubt insane.
The interesting thing is now that I’ve recognized the source of my disappointment, I don’t feel as bad. Life is funny that way. *smile*
Congratulations to all the Golden Heart and RITA Finalists!
How do you deal with disappointment (chocolate, alcohol, or something else)? Do you look for silver linings? Do you buckle down and move forward? Does understanding your disappointment help you face it?Pin It