It’s been a few months since my last post, but a lot has happened. I was still writing, just not daily, as family obligations took precedence. Then, in April, a fellow writer reminded me of the Fool For Love writing contest. Entering contests can be a great way to launch your career. They provide exposure, give you credibility, put your manuscript in front of industry professionals and lead to agent representation and publication. It was a contest I’d planned on entering, but with everything going on, I didn’t think I’d have the time. I went back and forth trying to make my decision: Should I enter? Could I get my manuscript ready? Would it be good enough? In the end, I decided to go for it.
Unfortunately, I made the decision with only three days until the deadline! And so began a revision whirlwind the Livesay household had never before seen, but one they should probably get used to. I managed to submit my entry with seven minutes to spare.
And we wait…
A month later, I learned that I was a finalist in the short contemporary category! I was so stunned and overwhelmed, I cried. I’d entered a couple of contests before and had come nowhere near finaling. But the comments I’d received were helpful; they let me know that I had a lot to learn about the CRAFT of writing. The good authors make it look easy, but a lot goes into writing a good, marketable story. That’s what I’ve spent the past two years learning. And to finally have that work validated… it was incredible.
Making the finals is only the first part. Now, my entry will be read by the finals judge, an editor at Harlequin, my dream publisher. The first place winner will receive a cash prize. The second and third place finalists will receive a certificate. However, the best “prize” is that my work will be seen by an editor for a publishing house that’s the top in our industry, something that most unpublished writers only dream of. There’s a chance that if the editor really likes what she reads and sees potential, she may request my entire manuscript.
But no matter what happens, I now have some validation that I am on the right track to being published one day. And at a time when life was getting gloomy, it was just the spark I needed.