I’ve been involved in an erotic short story contest. The first round was in November. There was a week of public voting to see if I got into the print anthology and $100. I was pretty stressed that week, but it wasn’t too bad. And whoo hoo, I made it, into the semi-finals.
Then semi-finals rolled around last week. And I thought, “I just have to get into the top three, then it goes to a judging round for the grand prize and I don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
I probably was slightly annoying with my promo, because I wanted in the finals. I just wanted to get to that place where it was going to be decided by a panel of judges and wouldn’t be about a popularity contest anymore.
So what was the grand prize that would make me this insane? 50 free copies of the anthology that I’m going to be in, and a $3,000 grand prize. In this economy, that’s nothing to sneeze at. Actually it’s nothing to sneeze at anyway. There was only one other time when I saw that much money at once and it was when my grandmother died. So it wasn’t exactly a happy moment.
Then this past Monday rolled around and I made it into the finals, and for a moment there was this huge sigh of relief, because whatever happened, it was totally out of my hands. The judges would make a decision and that would be that.
But, there was a twist. (Isn’t there always a twist?)
They were doing a third public voting round. Only this time it was a “non-binding poll” that could sway the judge’s decision. What this really means is, if it’s close with the judges the person with the most votes has a definite edge.
I think that was my snapping point. I just couldn’t take anymore of it. I needed it to be over, and it wasn’t. I’d promised people they wouldn’t have to hear another peep from me about the contest, but they did. And under this stress I’ve become what I hate, promo-zilla.
It’s really causing me to re-evaluate how I approach things and why. Yes I want to win, pretty desperately in fact, but my husband (who rocks times a thousand) came to me and said: “I know you want to win, but if you don’t, you still have all these other goals you’re going for. And it won’t affect that. You’re going to do bigger things than just this.”
It was exactly what I needed to hear. Because win or lose, at the end of the day I have to be the kind of person that I can respect. So yeah, I want to win, I’ll do what I can to get those votes, but I’ve got to take the crazy down a notch. I can’t let this consume me. And I want to come out on the other side still a person worth liking.
Have you had a moment like this that has tested your mettle?