Indecision when it comes Competition Submissions? Me too.

It’s not ready, and I know it’s not ready. But the question still pulls at me: should I submit it anyway?

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I’ve found it more difficult that I thought to rewrite the opening to my first ever attempt at a novel. That which is left is lost is complete in first draft format but I know so much more than I did when I originally penned it, and as a result, I know that the first draft is just an outline of the story as a whole. What the first draft has given me is the belief in a story that no-one else could tell. Currently, it’s mine, wrapped up in my thoughts and fantasies and existing only as a scaffold of words in a computer file that will (hopefully) be the foundation of a much larger castle.

Rewriting the story was my only option. It’s the right decision, so I have no qualms there. But, I’ve known about the Richard and Judy Bestseller competition for months now, and I’m still only on Chapter One of my novel. Granted, it’s a better first chapter than I’ve ever had, but it needs more work and it’s only 2,500 words of the 10-12,000 R&J request for their competition.

So, I have twelve days to finish my novel up to that point. It’s taken me almost three weeks to write 2,500 words, yet somehow I have to write four times as much – to just as high a standard – to be eligible for this competition (plus a synopsis and a biography). Let’s not mention that Christmas and my birthday both fall within this twelve day stretch, nor focus on the fact that for two days I’ll be away from home.

Does all of this mean I should give up? I think my last post adequately sums up my attitude when it comes to that particular question. However, should I still submit if I am not convinced that my work is of a standard I am happy with? Should I believe that anything is possible and go for it anyway? Or should I be more cautious and retain my sanity by admitting that the deadline is just too close and the work is just too much for right now?

The problem is, I can’t give up. If I don’t at least try I feel as if I would be letting myself down. I will always wonder ‘what if‘ – even when the answer to that might very well be; the work isn’t up to scratch. It’s one thing to miss an opportunity, it’s another thing entirely to actively turn away from one. And yes, it might be challenging, it might be tiring and stressful, but do I really want to begin 2014 thinking that I didn’t make the effort?

What’s the worst that could happen?


What do you think? I always appreciate advice, and this appears to be a situation in which guidance might be appropriate. What would you do? 
Please feel invited to either leave a comment below or tweet me!


7 responses to “Indecision when it comes Competition Submissions? Me too.

  1. Pingback: Making the ‘Write’ Choice | Cat Lumb: The Struggle to be a Writer

  2. You have nothing to lose by entering. Work your tail off toward the deadline. But if the deadline is upon you and the manuscript is not ready (and you’ll know in your heart if it’s not), you can live with the satisfaction of knowing you gave it your best shot, but it wasn’t meant to be. At least not this time. And don’t forget to enjoy the festive season. Spend time with family and loved ones. You won’t regret stepping away from the computer, which is often the best thing we can do for our writing.

    • ‘It wasn’t meant to be…’
      You’re right. Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves when it isn’t necessary that we forget to learn the lesson in the first place.
      Thanks for commenting (sorry it took me a while to respond!)
      Take Care, Cat x

  3. Knowing you as we do, we already know that you won’t give up, Cat but the dilemma you face is one we all understand. We only want to submit our very best work but there is always a deadline. My advice is to keep at it, as you’re doing, and when the time comes, if you feel happy with it, go for it. It would be terrible not to after you’ve invested so much and I don’t think you will take the other option anyway. One last thing I can say with certainty, is that you write very well so in my mind, there is no question that you won’t do this. As the post above says, you can only learn by trying. Good luck and don’t forget to enjoy Christmas and your birthday 🙂

    • Thanks for this comment, Julie. After making my decision (see next blog post) I neglected to check WordPress for a while! Too busy enjoying the festivities!


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