Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My First Blog: I've joined a forum!

It's interesting--my writing career has been underway for over twelve years, yet I've never been involved in the "writing community," so to speak. Turns out, there are a plethora of online communities, blogs, forums, and other resources for writers to enjoy the camaraderie and share the knowledge of others. Oh, I knew they were there; I just didn't get involved with them until now.

I recently joined Backspace, a site for writers that's rich in resources of every kind. I can make friends! I can request impartial critiques! I can join contests, watch videos, and read a multitude of articles written by top industry professionals!

But alas, I've been a member for a whole week now, and haven't had much time to participate. After all, I am revising and editing my manuscript. Again. (Someone better take it out of my hands soon, because no matter how good it gets, I can't seem to stop). I'm preparing to teach at one conference and attend another, while juggling four kids and their insane social schedules.

Although, I did enter a contest: there was the potential to win a scholarship to attend the Backspace Conference, which for me would be a significant financial windfall. When voting opened to all forum members, I excitedly checked the contest page and was pleased to discover that there were only six entries--in my mind vastly increasing the potential that I could win.

I read each entry and then, feeling a little guilty, voted for myself. Checking back later (and checking and checking and checking), I became more hopeful when I saw that someone else had voted for me. I had two votes! Logging off, I vowed that I wouldn't check again until the next day, and I only cheated once. Still two votes.

Within a few days, all was said and done. I did not win. In fact, I never did receive any more votes, while two of the other contenders received 13 and 9. Were theirs that much better than mine? Does my writing suck? Of course, I loved my story and my husband did too, but we might not be the most impartial audience.

Researcher that I am, (and realizing that this was not an anonymous contest), I decided to do some investigating, upon which I discovered that the two highest-ranked entries were written by the two with the highest forum participation. Coincidence? Surely it couldn't be that voters on the forums--educated, knowledgeable people who understand the love and skill that goes into the craft--voted for their entries simply because they're friends. Would they?

Is it possible that the writing world--like all the rest--is a dog-eat-dog world? Who knows? I have no idea. I mean, their stories were good, but... Maybe I'm just a sore loser. Maybe my writing does suck. I guess we'll see next year when my participation numbers are up.

Then again, I'm busy. Very busy. So who knows how high I can get them? Guess I'll just keep doing what I do, and be glad for all of you, my readers, who hopefully don't think I suck.

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