I’m not sure what it says about me that I break my months-long blogging hiatus with a bitch session. Well, not a bitch session per se, just an update on the writer’s journey–“writer” sounds much nicer than “wanna-ba author,” no?
Ah, the writer’s journey. That long, long road to publication. Contests are exit signs along this highway, enticing me and my fellow writers as we progress, one mile marker at a time. These exits could take us anywhere from a shortcut to Awesometown, Published Author Land, to–in some cases–an abandoned rest stop. For my friend Beth’s hilarious take on this matter, check out the link: http://ourmshelf.blogspot.com/2011/05/burning-of-judges-score-sheets-on.html
Most of the time, contests are just detours. You might see some nice scenery, do something fun. Or you might think you found the shortcut, and catch a glimpse of Awesometown’s majestic skyline just around the bend–only to find it’s a billboard that reads Visit Fabulous Awesometown–only 800 miles. This happened to me recently. I finalled in a writing contest–the top score in the first round (toot, toot, that’s my own horn you hear). But in the final, editor-judged, round? Honorable mention–didn’t even place (pfff… I think my horn is busted). So am I seeking sympathy? Nope. Why not? You see, what I have is a high class problem.
High class problems are the ones you’re lucky to have. “It is so hard for me to find a bathing suit. My hips are a size two and my chest it s six!” “My husband is always cleaning up the house. It’s driving me crazy!” “You want to take me on another trio to Europe? Okay. <sigh> as long as it’s what you want.”
You get the idea. And the road to publication is potholed with high class problems. The nastiest critique, or the tersest form rejection–high class problems. How? Because all writing problems are high class problems. Writing is a luxury. We are lucky to be able to do it–to have the vision, the desire to tell a story, the follow through to get it done, and the balls to put it out there–good, bad, or ugly. Not many people can do that–possibly fewer people than the size two ass/size six boobs subset, but I’m not really sure how the numbers break down there. And (un)fortunately, in writing, one high class problem leads to another. Like so:
1. You final in a writing contest, but you don’t win.
2. You win the contest, but the agent judge still doesn’t want to sign you.
3. You sign with an agent, but she can’t sell your manuscript.
4. You sell your manuscript, but the advance is tiny (or nonexistent).
5. You get the big advance, but your book doesn’t sell enough to earn out.
6. You earn out your advance, but you’re still a mid-list author.
7. You reach the bestseller’s list, but you are still not a Famous Author.
8. You are a Famous Author, but people think your books are the work of the devil.
9. That sex tape you made before you became a Famous Author leaks online.
10. The sex tape makes you an Even More Famous Author, but the angles are really unflattering.
So, what to do? I, for one, am going to cheer myself up–probably paint my nails, enjoy a cocktail, and listen to some New Order (the world’s finest band). Then, I’m back on the road, going to get myself some more high class problems.
What about you? What are your high class problems, writing or otherwise?