Once upon a time, on a couch very much like this one (in fact, it was this one), I sat and stared at my keyboard, my mouse hovering over the “submit” button.
I had just uploaded the first chapter of my manuscript to enter it into the 2013 So You Think You Can Write contest and I. Was. Terrified.
What if everyone hated it? What if they threw rotten tomatoes or large rocks at my computer screen? Worse, what if they simply ignored my entry and I never got the feedback I so desperately craved?
I wasn’t sure I would survive.
Nevertheless, I took a deep breath, gulped down some wine, and clicked.
And you know what? It was one of the best things I ever did.
Over the next few weeks, I got to know quite a few wonderful women. We all wanted to win, of course. But we were also enjoying the company of a bunch of other writers who understood exactly what we were going through.
We gnashed our teeth together. Chewed our fingernails down to the quick together. And when the time came, we cheered the finalists on, not begrudging them their success in the least (although we were all still hoping to hear from an intrigued editor).
I was one of the lucky ones. I didn’t final-final (mine got cut at the semi-finals) but I did get an editor interested. And I sold my manuscript (scoring a two-book deal in the process).
But equally importantly, I made lasting friendships.
While at the RWA conference a few weeks ago, I attended the open house for SYTYCW alumni and interested writers. And I got to hug the smiling faces of a whole bunch of women I’d never “met” before, but was already proud to call friend.
Two of those women (Tanya Wright and Jennifer Christie) are now my critique partners, and together, we’re going to take the writing world by storm.
All three of us have advice to give you in this video the Harlequin crew shot.
The next step of our careers is “To Be Decided,” but wherever we go, it’s going to be great.
And it all started with a little thing called the So You Think You Can Write contest.
So if you’re thinking about entering, stop thinking and just do it.
You’ll be glad you did.