In these days when friends are finaling in the Big Dance of Romance--The Golden Heart and Rita contests--it is easy to get discouraged if you are not among them. While it is wonderful to feel their excitement, to know they deserve their success, and to hope they win the prize, it is easy to take a step back and believe you are not ready for center stage.
But don't you dare.
Everyone who has ever been published has been in your waiting-room shoes. You just need to be clear about what it is you are waiting for.
Are you waiting for a contest result, an editor's reply to a query, and/or an agent's response? Why the bleep not?
Are you in this parade or are you content to sit on your plastic lounge chair and absorb someone else's excitement? Are you waiting for the Parade Marshall to recognize your talent from afar and come beg you to climb up beside him on the convertible?
Come on. Take off the shades man. No one is watching you. They are watching the parade.
So, if you need motivation, sign up to enter a float. If you're not ready, send off a query to add a bit of pressure. Embarrass the bleep out of yourself and ask some writer friends to read your story. If you have read it too much to see the flaws, ask someone else to look for them.
What everyone else is doing, where they are in their careers, does not matter to yours. I'll tell you a little secret: If you are watching the parade you are not in it. If you are in it, you're not watching it.
So, what do you see? Right now, what are you thinking about? Your writing or theirs?
Still content to sit at the side and watch the writers on parade? That's alright. I am going to need some folks to wave to.
Ainsley, who is ordering crepe paper online instead of leaving the computer to go shopping. I'll be on the LOUD float.