Ideas / life / writer / writing

Results of 3Day Novel Contest… and what I learned the hard way

373149_411919978852731_874503090_nThe madness that is 3Day Novel contest has come and gone.  I was exhausted by the end and for the first time in the four years I’ve participated, I did not reach my goal or complete my book.  And I was disappointed. But I wasn’t suicidal.

I admit,  the wound is still fresh but I thought I owed it to myself to be honest  to my small blog  following  about what happened during this long Labor Day weekend. I would love to tell you  the weekend was a smashing success, but it wasn’t. Not exactly.  But it was a learning session. A very, very  very painful learning session  but one I think I had to have.

NEWSFLASH!!!  I am not God’s gift to literature… but then, I never thought I would be.  How terrible it would be to have that hung around my neck.  No thanks, God.  I’ll pass on that. What I learned was this:

   I need to work just as hard, be just as committed and study just as diligently as I did while I was learning to become a professional opera singer.  That didn’t happen over night and being a published writer certainly won’t happen that way either. I need to learn what works best for me as a writer and hone my technique into a perfectly oiled machine, just like my voice…which is something I honestly never thought about before… Until about hour 67.8 of the 72 hour weekend.  And it was a realization that hit like a ton of bricks.   So I now have a new goal.  To approach writing as I did singing.  Read more,  learn more., but above all else… KEEP WRITING!  That is what a writer does.

What follows is the post I wrote and posted to  the 3Day Chat boards.  That particular board is made up of wonderful folks who stay in touch, in varying degrees, through the year and are a wealth of support during the actual contest time.  We are a family. And supportive always!  So, instead of writing something else, I decided to use that post on my blog. It went like this:

 

Friends:

 
This is a difficult post but if I have learned anything in the past 60 yrs, it’s that sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t.  This is one of the don’ts.

I had a eureka moment.  The problem I’m having is that I have two stories going on in one document. Not a story and subplot,  not even two subplots because they are so far unrelated that they are not even  in the same time zone. What I have is two separate stories  about two different sides of a protagonist,  going in opposite directions,  and there is no way to fix an unfixable story in the time I have left during this round of 3DN. I watched them go off on their own and was unable to pull them back from the abyss. So….

I’m stopping the bleeding. 

I’m “killing my darlings”. 

There is no earthly purpose for me to sit here and attempt the impossible when I am so mentally and physically spent.  One story would have to totally go and when I kill one to save the other…well either way, I would have far below 10K.  That is a short story, not even a novella and I’m not even sure I have the energy left to finish a short story right now.  I won’t submit an unfinished work. Not going to happen.  I could tell you a whopper and say I finished but what’s the point in that?  What I will say is that I tried but came up short and it’s not the end of the world.

There are bright spots to this predicament. I’m writing again which is a huge, terrific thing AND more importantly, I know where I went wrong, I just don’t have the time or energy to fix it. I’m truly not looking at this as giving up, which some of you may  think.  What I am doing is facing reality.  This is NOT a good effort this year.  Big Whoop. 

It’s a story that I can’t possibly, in any shape or form, complete and add “The End” 

Would I have liked for it to have turned out differently, YES.  Will I take this sucker apart and rework it into the kick ass story I wanted when I started this 3 days ago… OH, HELL YES! 

And as far as bright spots, you…all of you… are by far the brightest of the bright.  This is a fabulous community . One I love and cherish being a part of.

To those who have or will finish their stories – You are Fabulous! Congratulations, Kudos and big, big, big kisses and hugs.  I really mean it .  To those who are like me and choose not to go on, well I think we’re pretty freaking fabulous too because…. and this is really important….  we are writers and we write. 

I’ll be around the boards because, hey, we’re family, right? But I’m going to take a break for a while and come back a little later after a much needed and I think very well deserved glass of wine.

XOXO to all….judith

The support I received from these fabulous people…in the mist of their own sleep-deprived hell… was genuine and heart warming.   I love them all.  They are my writing family.  Some are published, some are not but  they are writers, every last one of them.   They dare  to wrench  thoughts and hopes and dreams from their souls and put them on paper for all the world to see.
 
They are brave and crazy and neurotic and amazing.   They are writers because they write.
 
And make no mistake about it,  even with all my faults…so am I.
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