Bear has only entered one writing challenge so far, being a total newcomer to FaithWriters, and the winners won't be posted until next week, still. So Bear should probably keep Big Bear jaw shut. But can't resist sharing.
Reading this thread has been extremely helpful. Because I tend to get very emotional about my writing as well. And it's getting in the way of my ability to steadily produce. Always has. All my life. I write for awhile, get burned out by the emotional ups and downs and quit again.
In fact, I was just praying about it a couple days ago, asking the Lord to help me with it. Because I felt such a total letdown after I finished writing my first Writer's Challenge entry and submitted it. I got depressed. And I've noticed this in the past with other pieces of writing I've done. I get super focused on the writing, almost obsessive in the editing, and then feel totally let down after I'm done. And, if anyone says anything about the writing afterward, when seeing it -- if it's not the highest possible praise (and sometimes even when it is), I feel like a total failure.
Which of course, in reality, is not the case. But I was brought up that your measure of whether-or-not-you're-a-good-person was dependent on how well you pleased the teacher (or mentor, or parent, or person in authority), basically. And I think I've funneled all that "please the teacher" mania into writing emotions.
So I know that, despite all I tell myself about being a newcomer . . . that it doesn't matter where I place, so long as I'm learning, and that by reviewing the winner's entries I can learn so much from their writing, plus bless others with my comments on their pieces, etc, etc, etc. . . . I'm most likely in for a major crash when the results get posted.
HOWEVER, that's one of my main reasons for setting myself with determination, wanting to do as many Writing Challenges as possible. And I'll be praying with every one of those challenges that the Lord will help heal those emotional trip wires that are plaguing me. Because, in reality, they're hampering my writing output majorly.
I know all of you will understand, from what you've said . . . When I try to imagine being able to write, WITHOUT all those emotional ups and downs . . . well, just think how much more fun writing could be. And how much more productive.
I want that joy that I can only imagine.
And I figure, I'm never going to get there, if I let those emotions stop me from writing and entering these writing challenges.
Because, in reality, the "winners results" is simply a MIRROR . . . Maybe "mirror" is not the word Bear is hunting for . . . How to say it? When we submit articles for publications to editors, most writers are going to get rejected -- only a few will "win" -- there IS competition, there are editor personality preferences that are going to shade what type of piece gets accepted and what doesn't, etc. Even when just showing our writing to friends -- a lot of friends aren't going to care about what we've written or will miss the point, and we might only get a few kind comments. Even if I never submit to a paid market, but choose to submit to free ministry magazines and church publications -- there's still going to be "Editor's Choice" in the picture -- an editor who decides if my piece is what he/she wants to print. Etc. So it is with the Challenges -- they're a MIRROR, reflecting the rest of "writing life", kind of. They're one of the safest places to practice, with kind Christian fellow-writers who are doing their best not to hurt feelings (I assume) mainly, and to make any "rejection" as soft as possible, plus give any possible compliments along the way. Plus, give CONSTRUCTIVE criticism to help improve the writing. What better place to learn?
It's the reality of writing, unless I'm going to shove my writing "into the closet" never to share it with anyone at all ever.
I think God is able to deliver and heal me from stuff like this. So I want to work really hard at being faithful in prayer on it, and being faithful at entering the writing challenges . . . And every time a thought comes up that I know is setting me up for those emotions that are tripping me up, I want to work at trying to replace it with some more productive thought.
Example: "Wouldn't it be awesome if I made first place on Editor's Choice my first week out?" (
) (Which thought I have to admit DID pop into my mind already.) Telling myself -- That's a "please the teacher, instant straight A student thought." Replace with, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if I actually succeeded at consistently completing Writing Challenges week after week, and placed in Editor's Choice in my first year, once or twice, and my writing improved majorly along the way?" or "Wouldn't it be great if it didn't make Editor's Choice this week, so the entry was freed up so that I could then submit the piece to a small church magazine, and see if the editors there might like it?" Etc. Trying to break up my obsessive focusing "please the teacher -- only top marks will suffice, all else is failure" line of thinking.
So even though I haven't seen this particular Writing Challenge's Winners posted yet. Bear's been there many times before, even never having done a Writing Challenge, and knows already what Bear's up against. And knows that for BEAR, the only hope is going to have to be much prayer, and much slogging along, and pushing through walls, and taking the bumps, until the emotional road starts smoothing down, IF Bear is ever really going to become a writer.
And Bear thinks the Writing Challenge is an EXCELLENT place for doing just that.
Bear may bite the dust, after only a few entries, and stop writing again. But Bear is praying not. And that's why Bear has the 40 Writing Challenges posted in the signature. Bear has prayers going up steadily, and is hoping to be able to slog through the emotional storms, until Spring Sunshine is sighted, shining bright.