Red Planet have informed those who made it through to the workshops; well done to all of you (and I do mean that...really I do).
HONEST POST WARNING - RANT IMMINENT! Those of a nervous disposition please bugger off somewhere else.
Another year gone and another year of not making it to the second round of the Red Planet Prize. I have to admit I'm gutted, more than a little put out and very puzzled as to where I go next as a writer after this year's competition. If I sound bitter and resentful I can assure you it's purely accidental and is not the case, I'm just having trouble trying to figure out where I went wrong. People are bound to say, 'Move on, Dom, there's always next year,' but to tell you the truth I'm really struggling to find any enthusiasm at the moment for the competition, or writing for that matter. Let me invite you into my head so you can see where I'm coming from.
When the competition was announced I already had an idea in place, a very solid idea thoroughly worked out, and I immediately got cracking on my ten pages. I was ecstatic to finish them in plenty of time, so I sent them off to ten trusted people and waited for their opinions to flood into my inbox. I was very happy and quietly confident I had a cracking first ten pages, but just wanted to be sure so I could make any necessary changes before sending them out. Those ten trusted people duly replied and all confirmed I had something special on my hands. Not one of them, and I need to stress this point, not one had anything negative to say about my ten pages. I was extremely confident of my chances...that was probably my mistake.
When the qualifiers were announced I was totally gob smacked; I wasn't on their list. At first I foolishly thought they had made a mistake. Then when I had calmed down a bit I thought maybe my ten trusted people had got it wrong and didn't know what they were talking about. Worst of all I began to think my ten pages were actually a giant pile of shit. So I moaned about it on Twitter. Those who had read my Twitterings and my ten pages, sent me messages of support and outrage on my behalf. A week later I was contacted by a big and respected someone, who will remain nameless, offering to read my ten pages to see where I went wrong. I waited nervously to hear back from them and felt vindicated when I was told they thought I had just been unlucky not to make it through to the second round. Unlucky? That didn't make me feel any better, it just made me madder. To miss out because my ten pages didn't tickle the fancy of the person who read them, when they were given the thumbs up by many others, is a slap in the face for all the hard work I put in. I just couldn't understand it...still can't.
This is how my career as a writer appears to be going. I make tiny advances, but that big opportunity is always just out of reach. People like my work, some even rave about it, but I always fall at the last hurdle while others, those who have been writing many years less than I have, seem to get all the breaks. It's hard, really hard, not to allow feelings of bitterness to grow, because those others have worked hard to get those breaks and deserve them. To be bitter of their achievements would be a huge insult to their hard work and effort, and a terribly self-defeating exercise. But I have to ask myself, am I really that unlucky? I certainly feel so. It's so frustrating sometimes, it really is.
I'm not perfect, I make mistakes, I get angry and unlike some bloggers who like to put on a professional front at all times, I have to have a rant now and again to let off steam. Will I be entering the Red Planet Prize next year? I very much doubt it. If I did enter next year with a shit ten pages and managed to get through, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest, and it would only increase my frustrations with the business. I think I'll just submit my work to them when it's ready and not wait until that one time a year the competition is announced to do so. Other than that I have to crack on and hope my luck changes for the better, that someone, soon, sees I have a talent and gives me the opportunity to prove it. But I can't sit around and feel sorry for myself, if I did that I might as well give up writing for good.