All heroes must be tested. It is an undeniable truth that has been ingrained into the DNA of storytelling since Odysseus first met the Cyclops. In our collective quest to become known as writers, we at Party Now, Apocalypse Later, Nevermore Edits, Inkubus Publishing, and A Murder of Storytellers must also be tested. Ours will be an arduous reckoning, and comes at the Oklahoma Writer's Federation Incorporated* annual conference in Oklahoma City. Not all of us may get out alive. A continental breakfast is also provided.
The weekend is fraught with dangers unseen. The agent you've scheduled time to pitch with may think your stuff is "smart" but maybe "too smart" for their market. I mean, there's no reason that the children's market isn't ready for a densely plotted trilogy of books centered around Orson Welles saving the world, but whatever.
The agent may flee your pitch session, having suddenly become ill. I'm not going to use any names on this one, but I know for a fact some variation on this story happened both this year and last.
The vast majority of the weekend may be consumed with the politics of writing far more than the writing itself. Seriously, we're local authors trying to get better at our craft and maybe, one day, make it big. Stop treating it like it's House of Cards fantasy camp. People flexing their egos only for show ought to be flogged. And caned. And then shamed. Repeatedly.
You might try your hand at the contest. You may win something and feel vindicated. You may win nothing and feel slightly discouraged. You may win nothing and get a critique back on one of your submissions that read, in brilliant fortune cookie fashion, "Your reputation as a writer will be very poor indeed." At the time of this writing, the contest winners have yet to be announced. I may yet change my tune.
It can be a frustrating, discouraging experience for many. Maybe it needs to be. Maybe it doesn't have to be.
Ultimately, I'm left with one question: So what? So what if it's frustrating? So what if it can be demoralizing? If a less than productive weekend is going to cause you to fold up your sails and put up in the harbor forever, then something else would have stopped you before too long.
Remember, if you put pen to paper and plan to keep putting pen to paper, you belong among the other writers. If you're out there, come next year. Good things will happen. I have no idea what they may be, but they will happen. I guarantee it. No matter what happens, don't buy into the hype, and don't listen to the harshest things you think about yourself. Tomorrow, get back to work on the writing. Don't let any more time you could spend working on your craft slip away; the weekend is nearly over.
*OWFI: It's like wi-fi, except it hurts. Ow. Ha.