Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Today I discovered I am not a writer.

I discovered this by a roundabout route and there was more than one lesson in the discovery.
I entered, under duress, a "competition". It does not matter which one but it is a reputable one for female writers.
I was not expecting to win it because my main character in all three pieces were boys. I suspect that girls, or at least a mix of girls and boys, may have been more acceptable.
Despite that I had secretly hoped that the judges might at least want to read more - after all, there might be girls somewhere in there! But no, they lacked any curiosity about "what happens next". My writing is clearly not up to standard. That was lesson number one. It is something I should already have known.
Lesson number two however was a little harder to take. I found out I had failed when I went over to the Whirlwind's school. One of the teachers told me I had not been successful - by telling me she was sorry I had not been.  Apparently she was doing some prowling around writing sites on the internet and looked at the one in question and then looked at their social network sites as well. The information had, indirectly, come up there. The teacher was embarrassed at having given me the information in this way - and so was I.
I had not thought to look where she looked. Why would I? I was expecting a pro-forma "Sorry we don't want your work" by then. As the teacher said, "It would have been polite." That was lesson number two. Don't expect an answer.
Agents and publishers do not normally send replies. I don't like that - I suspect most people don't. I don't like it because you can never be sure they have even received what you have sent. Nevertheless it is apparently normal - and acceptable because of that.
I do feel that this time was different. This was a "competition" of sorts. There was a fairly hefty entry fee. As I am an impecunious cat friends helped with the fee because they had the confidence I would receive some feedback. There was none. Perhaps there were too many entries but there was no general feedback on the site in question either.
It does rather put me off the organisation in question but perhaps that does not matter. I am not a writer.
I am contemplating giving up the blog as well. I could use the time to learn to write...or maybe I could just go and play with yarn.


liz fenwick said...

First hugs.

I'm puzzled...if you are paying to enter a competition their should be some feedback and entries shouldn't be discussed on social media sites...it sounds off to me.

Don't give up. I know how long it takes to break through and I was on the quicker end.

Now sending more hugs.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Hi Cat

from experience - don't take a non-success in some competition as an indication that you can't write. Comps are notoriously subjective things, for a start, certainly not a science. Unless you had feedback that explained the process, and what they were looking for - don't make assumptions!

What is this "Whirlwinds School'? I googled, and couldn't find anything quickly. If they accepted your money as an entry fee for a place, and then didn't have the courtesy to contact you with the rejection, but instead slapped it on a public website - you are better off NOT going there anyway. If they behave that appallingly, with such crass disregard for confidentiality - they'd be an unsafe place to share your work.
Good luck.

catdownunder said...

I think I may have given you both the wrong impression - no names were mentioned on the social networking site. It was just a response to someone else that made the teacher (and then me) realise that decisions had been made but unsuccessful entrants had not been informed.
As I was not keen on the idea to start with this has just put me right off "competitions"! (And I am reminding myself that it was only on the say so of a certain Unwin child that the Hobbit was ever accepted for publication.)
It was just the sheer discourtesy of not telling people anything when they had paid a considerable sum to a supposedly reputable organisaton. Even an announcement on their site, "those on the long list have now been notified. Thankyou very much everyone else who entered" would have been a nice courtesy. Right, will now stop growling about that.
Vanessa, the Whirlwind is the child who lives around the corner. She has no mother and boards at a local school during the week. I am in-loco-parentis when her father is away. There is no school for Whirlwinds as such - but it is a nice idea!

Anonymous said...

Love the idea of a school for Whirlwinds!

Don't give up the blog as I am sure I am not the only one who enjoys a visit.

JO said...

Hi Cat - this is tough, and most of us have been there. Some competitions tell you when the results are out, and others don't. Then, when you read the final stories - sometimes they are wonderful and you can see why they won, and other times you scratch your head and wonder what more you could have done.

We don't have to like it. But it's part of the process. I hope you pick yourself up and carry on.

the fly in the web said...

Please do not give up the blog.

I haven't entered competitions, but a friend entered one (no entry fee) for expat writers....they announced the winner on their website and only then explained that Twitter and Facebook responses had been a significent factor in making the decision.

So, for me, that competition was about networking and thus publicising their site, not writing.

Anonymous said...

G'day, Cat

Keep writing and especially keep writing the blog - my essential morning reading.


Nicola Morgan said...

Cat, I'm going to email you. If I don't in the next couple of days, please nudge me., x