This is a term near, but not so dear to my heart. It is something I’ve lived with since at least the 6th grade science fair. I received an Honorable Mention for my project about color… well, I can’t actually tell you exactly what the project was. I just remember it had to do with staring at one color for 20 or so seconds, the looking at a plain white piece of paper and the color will change to what I think is called the “complementary” color. Red will be green, blue will be orange, yellow will be purple, white will be black, etc. I’m sure there’s a more scientific word for it, and I could probably stop and look it up, but that would negate my point.
I can honestly say I put about 80% effort into that project. Why not 100%? 100% is very intimidating, and I always had the fear of falling flat on my face, more than likely because I was so clumsy at the time and tripped over everything. Well, this is a trait that has followed me all my life. I am a procrastinator, a juggler, a neglecter, and sometimes a hypocrite.
Procrastinator: I wait until the almost last second to get something done. I usually can’t find any ideas up until that point, then I run out of time and can only do an average job.
Juggler: One thing I’ve never done in writing is more than one project at a time. On the one hand, that’s probably not a bad thing to a certain extend, BUT on the other hand, well when I go into a writing funk, I don’t have anything else to work on and therefore no writing gets done. Now, that’s not the case in other places. With my knitting and crocheting I have about 1,456 1/2 projects going at once. Of course I exaggerate, but I can’t seem to sit down and finish something straight through. I have to take breaks and work on something else from time to time. These projects do get done, but there’s a lot of juggling going on.
Neglecter: This kind of goes with Juggling, but more for the writing aspect. Because I have only worked on one project at a time, when the writing juices stop flowing, writing stops. Use to I could write 4 or 5 months straight before an incident, but the last couple of years I haven’t been able to get back on track.
Hypocritice: Well, that’s somewhat self explanatory. I can tell everyone else YOU CAN DO IT! YOU CAN DO IT! DON’T GIVE UP! KEEP GOING! and then turn my computer off, find a corner to curl up into the fetal position and wish the stories would just write themselves.
What does this all come to? Well, it goes back around to the “Honorable Mention” because of the combination above, I just can’t seem to break through the honorable mention ceiling. At least not until recently. I entered a local writing contest. My first one in 22 years and won 3rd place. Now, on the surface there are two ways to see this. First way is “oh, really, third place? That’s it?” The second way is “Wow, third place, congratulations!”
I have to confess that when I heard my name the first thing that came to mind was “well, at least it wasn’t honorable mention”. I felt kind of sheepish when there was an honorable mention soon after and the lady was so thrilled to receive it. I had to take a sobering step back and realize my 3rd place was a win. I had to see the best sides of it. It proves I am doing something right. It proves my writing has merit. It also proves I could be working harder. I know exactly how much time I put into editing this story for the contest, and it was 3rd place because of it.
I’ve been looking for an incentive to write. I have lost the spark at the most important time. I can’t give up just as things are starting. So, This contest is my incentive and my spark. I have another contest coming up, a bigger one that this contest gets you ready for. I’m going to take the advise given by the judge and enter this novel in the next one. I know I have to sit down and do it. Stop with the excuses. Keep with the writing. When I get blocked in one thing, I’ll post something on Facebook, or blog, or work on the 2 new stories I have started, or maybe even start a couple more. All I know is I won’t get better, I won’t succeed unless I write. So take that, Honorable Mention.