It's time once again for everyone to climb about the IWSG ship! (I doubt anyone will get the reference. It is probably better that way.) Click the link this month, because there is exciting Insect Wings Swooping Gracefully information.
I'm sorry, I've just been informed that I've been meeting with the wrong group. Alas, I will continue all the same!
When I was writing about fan fiction in my last post (not my last Insect Wings post, but the last one I wrote here in general), I kind of glossed over a crucial thing I realized recently:
But before I actually finish that thought, let's rewind a little!
Pocket Books has been publishing Star Trek fiction for years. At the turn of the millennium it decided to let fans get in on the action with a series of annual Strange New Worlds contests. I decided I'd like to get in on the action. Prior to my initial attempt, I'd never written a story outside of a class assignment. I didn't end up being selected that first year. I didn't end up being selected the next three times, either (I don't remember if I actually submitted the last one, but go with me anyway). The second effort remains the most personal of the early stories I wrote. I'd just begun college, and this was the first time I'd been away from home for an extended period. I ended up writing about my own experiences about returning home for the first time, using Jake Sisko as a surrogate. I have no idea if the resulting story was any better than the first effort. I know my third entry was written very esoterically, and that alone was probably enough to have made it another easy failure, but writing that one helped move me along creatively, and I suppose that was the best I could have gotten from the experience, all considered.
Long story short, I've realized, finally, that these early publishing failures were probably deserved. The time I lost a chance to write for Top Cow comics (another contest) was probably deserved, too, even though it was another useful learning/creative development experience. Heck, I would never have learned about Double Steak Day, if I'd won that one.
We tend to consider failures to be, well, failures, and deservedly so, but sometimes (hopefully always) we can take positive things away from them, and maybe even, in time, realize we actually...deserved to fail. It sucks, but we can't always win. *cough* Red Sox *cough* Yeah. Doesn't mean we always deserve to fail, either. Sometimes there's just no accounting, except to realize there are a ton of people trying to accomplish the same exact goals, and I guess that idea of being prepared really is relevant to the outcome. All you can do is try and be the Best Possible You at any given moment. Maybe that BPY isn't always impressive, even to yourself, but sometimes it really is about the effort. It's not always what others think of you, but what you think of yourself. This is not selfish thinking. An honest person should always be comfortable with themselves, even when rough patches hit. Trust yourself. Believe in yourself. There's always next time. And in the meantime, enjoy what you're doing. Do your best. Strive to improve. Move along.