I wouldn’t call myself competitive, because I’m not always aiming to win. Trying not to be an arrogant twit about it – but I want my tombstone to read ‘resilient’, ‘adventurous’, and ‘tenacious’ (as well as Loving Wife etc). I think these words are reserved for people who put their creativity out on the line. They aren’t precious about it. They try things. If they make a mistake, they course-correct.
Indulging in solitary pursuits like singing and writing it is easy to turn yourself into Rapunzel. Only your hair isn’t long enough for the witch to climb let alone the prince; and when the prince finds you, if you keep writing and singing on your own all day and ignoring him- he’s not going to be impressed. In writing circles, they call this the Garret, and it’s not a good thing.
When you compete, you meet other people: competitors, judges, organisers, volunteers, mentors and more! You let your friends and family know what you’re up to and build a support network, a community. You take yourself out of the tower.
If you’re really lucky, they will give you some feedback. I love this quote:
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
~ Neil Gaiman
Feedback from other people is usually nicer than the feedback we give ourselves. Competing is a good way for me to perspective-check my thoughts. Other people think I suck less than I think I do – which is always a boost. Think of it this way, would you talk to your friends the same way you talk to yourself? I’m working on being a lot kinder to myself.
Getting feedback is also one of the quickest ways to learn. How do you know what you’re doing wrong if you don’t ask the people who know better? How can you fix things if you don’t know they are wrong?
But most of all – competition is exciting. It’s an adrenaline rush. You are taking a chance and you don’t know what the outcome will be.
So, in short, my 5 reasons to compete are to:
Interact with people who have similar interests.
Make yourself vulnerable, and humble that ego, by receiving feedback.
Embrace the challenge and shut up the negative voice that repeats: I can’t or I suck or What the bleep am I thinking?
Learn something new, and learn it well.
Feel the thrill of the accomplishment.
Today, I entered in to the RWA contest SellingSubmissions. They hold a number of competitions each year that encourage you to work to a deadline, polish a WIP to a high quality and get that all important feedback.
What chances are you taking this year?