Finding Out Who You Are

February 11, 2009 | Karin's Blog | 10 comments

By Zoe WintersThere are moments when we are under stress and we start to find out who we really are.  I wish I could say that I come out with a glowing five star review of personality perfection, but sad to say, I don’t.

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?

Oh, and we’re still in voting for finals week, so I’d love your vote for A SAFER LIFE:

(Oh, come on, you know I wasn’t going to miss this promo opportunity.)Zoe Winters





  1. Karin

    Ah, yes, the promo-zilla. Hate it when I go there, but in this biz, and in this economy, what’s a girl to do?

    Zoe, I voted for you! Even if I didn’t know you I would have, your story is great!

  2. Zoe Winters

    Hey Karin, you know that reality show, “Bride-zillas?” They should totally have an author-zilla show. Why don’t get get our own reality TV? We are like a train wreck, dammit! 😛

    And thanks! It means a lot to me that so many people have voted for me, and also think my story is good. 😀

  3. Karin

    We should pitch the concept to Hollyweird!

  4. Zoe Winters

    We should! And there could be some crazy giant NY contract prize. It would be the American Idol of writing. And there would be all this snippy drama. Though I’m not sure how one televises writing to make it interesting. That’s probably the flaw in my plan.

  5. Edie

    Zoe, I love the “promozilla” word. I’m going to borrow it. Your husband is a keeper. He’s right.

    And I think your story is the best too. 🙂

  6. Zoe Winters

    Thanks Edie! and you can totally borrow promozilla.

    And yes, Tom rocks!

  7. HollyD

    Welcome, Zoe!

    I just went over and voted for you. Your story was the best. Good luck.

  8. Zoe Winters

    Thanks, HollyD!

  9. LaDonna

    Zoe, I do hope you win! I voted, and yours is amazing, girl. And like Edie said, that promozilla word rocks. Promo is like the elephant in every writer’s office. It keeps getting bigger, it’s annyoing, drops a load now and again on the floor, and ya basically want to shove it out the door. Mine’s gone for now, but it’ll be back. BWAAAAA! 😈

  10. Zoe Winters

    Hey LaD, thanks! My lead keeps slimming, I just hope I’m able to hold it til the contest ends.

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