Creative Writing

Pressing My Nose Up Against The Window

I pressed my nose up against the window too long. It had to be done. So that’s it—they’re in, done, the best I could do and I know, in what’s left of my rational mind, that’s all anyone can do—their best. My Bristol Prize entry numbers are up in the high 2000’s but you’ve got to be in it to win it, right?

Now it’s time to let them go and move on, but not without a comment.

It’s a big deal to me just to have an entry which I dare send, which I believe has a chance of holding its head up among its peers. You could argue and probably will, that I’m probably not entirely objective on that point, but let’s face it, who is?  To have given myself the opportunity to take part is a triumph over prevarication, fear of failure and a myriad of other imposters all lining up to trip me up. So from my perspective that’s almost as good as a win—I don’t believe we can grow if we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to fail.

I care what the judges think and I crave their validation,  but it has to be about more than that. After all it’s just someone’s opinion anyway, whether they like my style or they can hear my voice. OK, well perhaps it is a little more than that, like a beginning, a middle and an end, not to mention craft, style and technical skill together with that elusive quality which floats their collective boat.

I’m highly competitive by nature and after three months in writing competition land I am still enjoying it. Don’t get me wrong, there have been numerous failures along the way, and doubtless even more to come. I just hope they don’t all wing their way into my inbox on the same day.

  • Submissions: 39
  • Awaiting Response: 20
  • Non-placed 16
  • Wins: 2
  • 2nd Place: 1

Each failure, for want of a better word, has given me something to take away and think about and work on. At this point, I try not to think of all the times I’ve confused my it’s with my its and yes I do make that final check, testing each one for grammatical correctness—I do now, at least. No, each failure has been a lesson that even when I think I’m done, that one last check never hurts and in doing so I’m reminded of my instructor’s mantra on this Casalguidi project I did a couple of years back.

When you think you’ve got enough stitches in it, add some more.

Of course, with words it doesn’t really work like that.