My 4th Place Grilled Cheese Panini

If I blogged only about the good parts of writing, then I’d fall far short of describing my writing experience. So with that in mind, I’ll share with you what a lousy day I’ve had.

Any writer published or unpublished can tell you that in the beginning they, “wanted it bad,” and I am no exception. The process to getting published is painfully long, and  a lot of that time involves waiting. Yeah, I know I’m supposed to keep writing, and I do, but still part of me is always waiting, hoping, and waiting some more for that next piece of good news.

But that’s not what I got today.

I came 4th in the Great Expectations Contest (a significant contest in the Romance Writing World). I really wanted to place higher, and more importantly I wanted to be asked for “a full” (manuscript i.e.,) but it wasn’t to be, not this time. So here I sit, as it happens alone, eating a grilled cheese panini instead of steak, and watching Romantic comedies on Netflix. Mostly I feel sorry for myself, but between snits I contemplate how many ways my pacing can be improved and my plots tightened.

I know this is good for me. No, maybe not the white bread , but the thinking part – the rebooting of the writing engine, the reconsideration of all aspects of the practice part.

Tomorrow is another day.

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

Jo-Ann Carson writes a saucy mix of fantasy, adventure and romance. Her latest stories are in the Gambling Ghosts Series: A Highland Ghost for Christmas, A Viking Ghost for Valentine’s Day, Confessions of a Pirate Ghost and The Biker Ghost Meets his Match. An anthology of the novellas will be coming out this summer. Currently she is working on Midnight Magic, A Ghost & Abby Mystery, the first book in a spin-off series from her Viking ghost story. Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, playing Mah Jong and drinking good coffee. You can chat with her on social media: You can find all her links on her website - http://jo-anncarson.com

22 thoughts on “My 4th Place Grilled Cheese Panini”

  1. I’ve been ‘there’. I feel your pain. And sometimes carb loading does help. It’s all part of the journey, as they say. However, it’s just fine to wallow around in it as well. Allow yourself some time. And hopefully, not right away, when you are feeling stronger, you can address their suggestions.

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    1. Hi Jodie
      Thanks for your understanding comment. It does make me feel better.
      I am wallowing – big time, and I wish the editor’s suggestions weren’t so large (i.e., pacing). It’s such a steep mountain I have to climb.
      But then I ask myself: what’s my choice? All detours take me away from what I want to do. So on I will trudge, perhaps a little road weary, but moving forward one step at a time.
      Thanks again
      Jo-Ann

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    1. Judy
      Thanks for commiserating with me. I am thoroughly grumpy.
      Your writing is awesome, by the way IMO. You just haven’t found the right contest “fit”.
      I like to believe our time is coming. I guess, I have to:)
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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  2. Totally commiserate, has happened to me, too, but the fact you placed in such a great contest is worthy of high praise (though I didn’t feel so at the time when it happened to me, it’s worth saying it so that some part of you remembers it). 🙂

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    1. Shereen
      Thanks for commiserating with me and letting me see that your road wasn’t easy either.
      There is a part of me that keeps whispering, “Enjoy it – stupid,” but the rest of me grumbles and questions my insatiable need to write.
      I gather we’ve all been there and I guess it’s my turn.
      Thanks again
      Jo-Ann

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    1. Joan
      Thanks for the hugs. They help and yes I hate this “place”.
      The more judge’s comments I collect, the more they contradict one another, so I hear what you’re saying. This was an editor though, from a publisher that had requested a full from me before, so her comments (though absolutely valid) really bite.
      Thanks again
      Jo-Ann

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  3. Jo-Ann, I feel your pain. Still, being a finalist is a win in it’s own way because it means your work stands out in a crowd.

    To add a little perspective, before my first book (The Man for Maggie) was published, I entered the manuscript in RWA’s Golden Heart Contest. It got some very good scores, but one judge gave it 4 out of 9. Ack! That’s a failing grade, IMO. Still, I persisted, did some rewrites, and submitted the full to Harlequin. Six weeks after submitting, I got “the call”!

    It’s so important to trust your instincts, believe in yourself, and always keep the final destination in mind, no matter how many roadblocks pop up along the way.

    Lee

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    1. Lee
      I don’t know what I’d do without your stories about how difficult it was to get published. I hold them (though they are full of pain and anguish) close to my heart. Thank you for sharing your experiences. They help give me perspective even when I’m wallowing.
      Jo-Ann

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  4. Ah, Jo-Ann, my heart goes out to you, sweetie. I haven’t even read the judges remarks on my entry in GE. (Thanks for the kind words about our NTRWA contest, BTW. We’re pretty proud of it.) I didn’t final. Got some very high scores and then a bleah score. That’s the one I’ll have to look at, but it hurts. We didn’t send trash. We sent our best, and it just hurts when it doesn’t resonate with everyone.
    I’ve only finalled twice with two different manuscripts. One ms finalled and bombed in two different contests with the same entry. Can you spell and say “subjective?”
    Yes, there are things we can learn from contests, but after you have the basics of craft down, it’s subjective. Neither of us likes every book we pick up. It’s subjective.
    So you do what we all do. “Pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.” To use the lyrics from some old song, which I hope is now in the public domain. LOL
    Wallow for a while, kick the dirt, eat chocolate, and remind yourself that you’re the only one who can tell your story in exactly the right way to touch hearts. You’ll get there. I’m convinced

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    1. Thanks Marsha
      I can tell you know how it feels, and the word “subjective” is a good one for me to keep in mind. I can see the end of my wallowing, but I’m not there yet. Thank you so much for your support and kind words. They mean a lot to me.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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  5. I’m so sorry, Jo–Ann. It must hurt, yet fourth place is still a very good rating in itself. I’m going to paraphrase a quote from Martha Graham that I have pinned above my computer:”There is an energy that is translated through you into action, this expression is unique to you and you must keep the channel open, clearly and directly or the world will be the poorer.” So recharge your batteries with pannini and chocolate, but press on because I’m sure success is waiting for you just a little further down the road.

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    1. Daniela
      Nice quote. I think I could do with a wee bit more chocolate and then I’ll reconsider adding my voice to the chorus.
      Thanks for your support
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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  6. I’ve been where you’re at right now as well. And quite recently, too. It’s difficult placing low in the final round of a contest. You’ve already had the high of being a finalist. Now you are getting less than stellar news. But if the editor gave you concrete feedback that you can work with, then that is a positive. Might not feel so positive now with all the other negatives swirling around one’s brain (I’ve been here as well) but time will help. Hang in there, Jo-Ann. I’m sending you a hug across the internet waves.

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    1. Hi Jacqui
      You’re right I need to hang on to my “positive” and work with it. Your hugs and empathy mean the world to me. The ups and downs are killers in this game.
      Thank you for your support.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

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  7. It is one person’s opinion, sometimes two or three in these contests. I have served as a contest judge and wondered why that absolute perfect tale I read did not win. Another judge lambasted it or chose another. Points, often as little as one or two points is the difference between winners and almost winners. It is just one person’s opinion that make the difference. That’s it. It doesn’t mean your work isn’t good. You will have to keep putting it in front of enough people until it strikes a responsive chord with the reader. Never give up.

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    1. Morgan
      Thank you for your supportive and encouraging words. It helps to hear your view of contests (as a published writer and judge), and it touches my heart that you chose to reach out to me and share your perspective.
      The good news is that at 2 in the morning I passed the grilled panini stage and started editing a piece of my work that was bothering me. I was ruthless. lol.
      Thanks again
      Jo-Ann

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