Well, it’s done. My short story has been submitted on the day of the deadline. Whatever happens now doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, not to me. I am proud of myself, my story, and feel that I have learned some valuable lessons in the last month.
Of course, it would be lovely to gain acknowledgement of such lessons learned by placing in the competition – otherwise, why enter? – but if I don’t win anything it won’t have been a waste. And that is comforting.
So, now to put that story away – tuck it up in my file and remember it fondly whilst I grapple with another challenge. Despite the struggles I have faced over the last few weeks – being so close to this story, these characters and the frustrations that come with trying to edit them down – I do feel an affection for this final piece. I like it. Which is more than I could have said two weeks ago, still fresh in the confusion of attempts to edit.
It does make the process worthwhile. It might not have been fun, exactly, but I understand now what it means to edit and how it can help improve the story. I really feel I have written something worthy, something I can be proud of, something that actually deserves the title of ‘short story’.
It’s a great feeling. But now it’s back to the first step to try and repeat the process for further success: Free-writing to identify a gem of an idea and then edit, rewrite, edit. Maybe I could learn to enjoy it, if only for the sense of achievement that results from the hard work put in.