Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Importance of Trying

This morning the winner of the "That's a Pretty Good Excuse" Writing Retreat Scholarship was announced. It isn't me, but it IS a very talented individual who I suspect deserves the "retreat" aspect of the workshop much more than I do. According to the Writing Excuses website, "the quality of the applications was higher than expected, all across the board", which gives me reason to believe I can one day rise to the top of the slush pile in an agent's inbox. 

As I sit here trying not to over-analyse what kept my submission from being The One, I'm also getting over my most recent bout of writer's block. My current story knot is not the biggest one I've had to untangle, but for the last three days my eagerness/anxiousness to discover the contest results greatly hindered my ability to step back and look at the problem with an objective eye.

My word processor has a file labeled "Darlings", where I keep all the things I like that I had to kill because they weren't what was best for the story. During my scholarship preparations, a heavily revised Chapter Two became Chapter One. The old Chapter One went to the "Darlings" file, and it will stay there. Instead of letting it take up space on my hard drive, I could just delete it, but I like having my murdered darlings close, where I can occasionally look over them like I would a battle scar. They are a testament to my willingness to make changes and move on, even if it's painful and a lot of work. 

To get over my block, I realize I needed to do more than leave it alone and let my subconscious mull it over. I also needed to embrace that same fearlessness.

I touched on this in To Not Suck, One Must First Suck, but you know what They say, "Life is learning the same lesson over and over again."

Not gonna lie, I told myself repeatedly that I wasn't going to win, hoping the universe would prove me the liar like it often does. But the universe sees right through those mind games, and I knew it, so my soul isn't crushed at the news. Besides, I'm lucky enough to have an acquaintance who is attending the retreat, and they have graciously offered to take notes and share them with me, so I won't be completely missing out. In the meantime, there are plenty of things I can continue to improve on that are strictly a solo effort. 

I might not have been a winner, but I was try-er, and honestly, I think that's more important for me right now. 

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