I'm not an especially brave person, so the idea of entering another Mills & Boon writing competition was always going to make me shudder like the cowardly lion. And if i'm totally honest, I'd sort of decided against it until I got my big old R last week - I guess I was more hopeful than I had grounds to be.
I've been thinking about the New Voices Comp quite a lot since that email hit my in-box. I've mulled it over, chatted about it with clever blog friends and family, and I *think* i've pep talked myself into entering again this year.
First and foremost for me, it's about being part of the experience.
I was extraordinarily fortunate to place last year, and since then i've worked my way through that manuscript to it's eventual end last week. It's been a consuming year of learning by my own mistakes, of discovering a huge passion for writing, and of trying (in vain) to cultivate some much needed patience.
I have no expectation of any success in this years comp, in fact if anything it's more a case of the opposite.
I am frightened that everyone will hate my sub and wonder how I ever placed previously.
But then that's that pesky lion speaking again isn't it? I'm trying to push him to the back of my mind and lock him away in a huge metal cage.
The fact is, I want to write for Mills & Boon just about more than I want anything else in the world.
And the other fact is that achieving that dream is damn hard, but then do the things you want in life ever come easy?
This competition is a truly fabulous way to get your work directly under the nose of the people who can actually make that happen.
It's a chance to develop and grow as a writer, and to get some valuable feedback from both the public and hopefully from an editor too.
How cool is that really?
As a result of last weeks R I'm in the process of preparing a new sub to send in to M&B, so entering the competition offers the otherwise impossible opportunity to have two subs in at the same time.
And that, my friends, is gold dust isn't it?
Someone smart advised me to treat the time as an aspiring romance writer like the worlds longest job interview, and to be successful you have to show commitment & tenacity.
Approach it with a business like attitude.
Give it your absolute best.
In other words - don't make like the lion.
This isn't the time to let nerves or fear of injured pride get in the way.
It's an amazing opportunity, one to grab with both hands.
So slay your lion, gather your courage, and grab, people.