It’s not the taking part, it’s the winning that counts

Ever get that sinking feeling in your stomach? Nervous butterflies? That feeling where you’re worrying about something and you go to bed dreaming about it? When you wake up, for a fleeting moment you forget what all the fuss was about and then something reminds you and all that knotted annoyance comes flooding back. Yeah that. I’ve had that sick feeling in my stomach for about a week now. It’s annoying the hell out of me and I just want it to end. It’s ridiculous really, I should be totally cool about it. If you don’t expect anything, then you won’t be disappointed. Bullshit. We all can’t help getting excited about stuff, especially idiotic obsessive people like myself. God I’m so annoying sometimes.

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The reason for this feeling is that I recently entered myself into a short story writing competition. I thought it was about time I put myself out there, test my skill to see if I’m actually any good. I felt similar when I started this blog, but this was different because I find writing this sort of stuff easy, as there’s no real effort. (Sorry, not sorry). I have thoughts, I write them down, I download funny pictures from the internet and click send. I don’t deliberate over it. I’m not limited to how much I can say or what the subject it is on. I don’t have to be clever with my words, descriptions or theme. With a fictitious short story, you do. With any sort of fiction in fact. In my blog, I talk about real life situations, thoughts and feelings. In fiction, you have the power to create and be inventive, original and inspiring. But it has to be believable. It has to captivate your reader, they have to see what you see. You can’t presume anything. And that’s hard. Even more so when you’re restricted by word count. You literally do have to make sure that every word has a purpose.

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The competition had over a thousand entries, they released a statement to say that they were going to announce their shortlist of stories in the week commencing 14th September. From that shortlist, 3 winners will be picked. They said to check their social media page for updates regularly and all will be revealed. God dammit they lied. They haven’t bloody said a thing, apart from on Thursday, they posted an update to say to keep watching this space. I must’ve checked that freaking page over 100 times. I’m pretty sure they would actually email all the shortlisters first, as well as publicly announcing it, so my email account has probably received a similar amount of attention. I don’t even know why. Obviously by entering I’ve given myself a chance, but it’s not the lottery. You don’t get picked by chance, you get picked because you’re good. And I certainly don’t have enough faith in myself to believe that is going to happen.

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For a start, my strength and passion lies within the children’s fantasy genre. I have tons of ideas, characters and world’s bouncing around my head. But for some ridonkulous reason (yes that’s a word) I chose to write travel based chick lit. What was I thinking? I’m currently on a course studying how to write books for children? So logically, I enter a competition with the complete opposite. I don’t know what came over me. Maybe I entered with a different genre so that if I didn’t win, I could say, ‘Well, I was writing out of my comfort zone’ or something similarly douche-baggy. No. The reason you didn’t get chosen is because you’re not good enough. But that’s ok. It’s ok because when you try something for the first time, chances are you’re not going to be perfect at it. Ok, there are some people that are just good at everything straight away, but we hate those people and they don’t count. But if failure got in the way of success, so many things in this world wouldn’t exist. If everything was that easy, winning wouldn’t be so awesome.

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JK Rowling got turned away by a load of publishers before one decided a story about an orphaned wannabe wizard would sell. Stephen King screwed up his idea for the novel Carrie and threw it in the bin and it was only because his wife took it out, flattened out the creases and told him to continue with it, did it make it to a publishers desk. Some of you maybe aware that it’s the rugby world cup at the moment. In short, there are a handful of teams that are pretty awesome and the rest try really hard but never really get round to winning. South Africa are one of those awesome teams and they famously won it in 1995, an iconic moment in their sporting history which is still talked about nostalgically amongst rugby enthusiasts. They won it again by defeating England in 2007. Last night, they played Japan in their opening game. A country not renowned for its success in physical sport, particularly not in rugby. They try hard but they never get the wins. For them it’s all about the taking part. Well not this year. They fought valiantly against a very experienced South African side, matching them with skill,strength and points throughout the 80 minutes. And in the final moments, they scored a well earned try and won the game. The atmosphere in that stadium must’ve been electric. No one could have predicted that result, not even the Japanese. But they persevered, dug their heels in and despite the large amounts of losses they’d experienced over the years, they believed they could win. And they bloody did. Now it’s only their first game, they have several more before the final. But that doesn’t matter. They never gave up, they didn’t win by chance they won by skill, perseverance and belief.

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Watching that rugby game last night inspired me. I’m not ashamed to say a cried a little when I watched the fans and players rejoicing and celebrating what was a mammoth of an achievement for their country. Against all the odds, the team that was the strongest and had the most experience didn’t win. It was the ones that played with passion, with heart and with the confidence that they could win, even if no one else thought they could. So I’ve decided to take on that ethic. Even if I don’t get recognised this time round, even if I am plagued with failure at the beginning. This is my dream and I’m going to keep on trying against the odds, despite the failures and inevitable knock backs I will experience. I’ll get better and learn from my mistakes. As long as I believe I’m good enough and put the hard work in, maybe, just maybe that’s enough.

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