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A Million Little Things of Bleach: On Rejection, Disappointment and Contests

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I was going to save this post for tomorrow but after dealing with a nasty back-and-forth with another user I feel like it's better if I just get all my thoughts about this matter out now and articulate my feelings clearly and concisely.

I entered a story in the JTK rewrite contest and didn't make the top five, which really sucks. It's a huge disappointment and it sucks even worse that I had to find out in the middle of the night while searching my email for a completely different subject. I guess that last part is more my fault than anyone else's. Still, it sucks.

That doesn't mean I'm bitter at the judges or want to demand a recount or implore the admins to bend the rules to my will or anything ridiculous like that, of course. I lost. I accept that I lost. There's nothing I can do about it but move on and try again next time.

I firmly believe that it's okay to be honest and open about your emotions when you're unhappy with the way something's turned out. It's never okay to attack other people over it or try and force other people to bow to your whims because you had an emotional reaction to something, but it's completely okay to feel emotions and be honest with out people about what you're feeling.

Once again, and I cannot stress this enough - I hold no ill will, jealousy or bitterness to any of the judges or other contestants, I wish them all the best of luck and I'm very happy for all of them. It's okay to hate situations or outcomes, but not people. I want to make it very clear that I have no problem with anyone on a personal level and whoever wins the contest I'll be very happy for. And okay, maybe a little jealous, but the good kind.

And, since it was brought up in a conversation on my talk page, I guess I have to mention that I said in a conversation with one of the judges that I believe grammar and spelling errors are "an editoral problem, not a writing problem." and I like to elaborate on that so it isn't taken out of context:

I do believe spelling and grammar are important and I do always try my best to proofread my stories (but I guess not well enough given some of the critique I receive and I promise that I will indeed work on that) but I still stand by that statement.

I do believe that an author's job, first and foremost, is to write a compelling narrative, interesting settings and complex characters first and foremost. Grammar and spelling, while important, are technical issues. They are, indeed, something editors should worry about more than writers.

Of course, quite obviously, most independent writers don't have the luxury of letting editors look over their work with a fine-toothed comb for them. People like me, obviously, have to edit their stories completely on their own.

So, that's all. You win some, you lose some. This is pretty much the first writing contest I've ever entered so it stings extra bad, but that's the really cool part: ever since I joined this site, my stories have been exposed to a wider audience for the very first time, so I get the kind of feedback and criticism I've never gotten before. It's a whole new experience for me and my writing will only improve because of it.

And by the way, if I made you feel uncomfortable or offended by the things I've said or the way I've acted after the fact, I'm truly sorry.

Thank you for reading.

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