I asked my good friend Wyndie Deaver to tell me about her first acceptance. She responded with the following. I think I will make this a series of guest blogs from different writers, so keep an ear to the ground!:
When one is asked by a writer that you admire (one who has poked you and prodded you and edited you and then found you a place to submit your work to) for a Guest Blog post, it would be a shame to say no. It’s actually fun to go out and play on another person’s blog. You never know who you will meet, and you get to write to someone else’s blog for them.
So the question had to do with my first acceptance… but instead I’m going to tell you about the first time I knew, deep down inside, that I had any sort of talent at all.
Way back in the day, I was writing but didn’t know if I had any talent whatsoever. I had written for ages, since I learned to read. I had been mocked for it by my peers (fourth grade) and praised for it by a different set of peers (teen years). I went to college to learn to write a book, and write a book I did. I joined an online community of writers, which is where I met Rie.
The problem, confidence wise was this: friends are going to love my writing because they love me, family the same way. The English Profs? Well, they kind of get paid for reading my stuff. So as long as it was coherent… what more could they say? (Actually, he said many kind things, but I was too busy being afraid and scared and small and shrugged it off). Online writing groups are great! But be careful that the people can help you the way you need to be helped. This happens to be where I met Rie and a few other writing friends whom I not only adore but also trust with my words… But my confidence was so low that
I could not accept a compliment. A crit? Oh yeah, I could accept them. Expected them, really.
I forget now what got me to submit the story to the Writer’s Digest competition in 1998. But submit “Wizard’s Revenge” I did.
Nothing. I heard nothing from them.
One day I was flipping through the magazine (back in the day when it was readily available). I skipped through the winners and honorable mentions because, well, because I wasn’t one of them. Except…
What was that? I flipped back frantically and there at number 47 or something absurd like that… was my name. What the heck?
There were 9,000 entries (over all) that year, and I made number 47 for Genre Short Story. The letter itself says “Your success in the face of such formidable competition speaks highly of your writing talent, and should be a source of great pride as you continue in your writing career.”
It’s silly. But having someone unrelated, who doesn’t know you… tell you that… well, it makes you realize that you do have some talent after all.
And that’s a wonderful thing.