But there’s something I’ve learned as a published writer and an aspiring romance author. There are three things (IMHO) that you should be equipped with if you hope to improve your craft, and get published: A thick skin, perseverance and belief in your work.
A thick skin comes in handy because everyone isn’t going to like your work, and they will call your baby ugly. But you have to let it roll. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a pity party, or get upset. By all means do that, and then get writing.
Perseverance is important because no one is going to knock on your door and ask you for your manuscript or what you’re working on next. You have to be determined enough to take the blows, the criticisms, dust yourself off and keep moving forward. It takes perseverance.
Last but not least, believe in yourself and that your work is worth reading. We’re our own worst enemy. (I know I can be.) We’re hypercritical, and full of doubt. Get over that too. If you have a consistent record of putting out good work, thrive on that. Make your good work even better, and then strive for excellence.
I entered two contests once and the first time around didn’t final in either. Talk about disappointing. I sulked for a few days—okay weeks. Thankfully, I got over it and decided that I wanted to be a published romance writer. I refused to give up. So, I attended more workshops, became immersed (even more than I already was) in books on plot, point of view, and conflict and talked to industry professionals. I used what I learned and began to revise that story that originally fell short.
After submitting a few years later, to both contests, I not only placed in final round, but won third place in both. (one of them just happens to be the Romance Slam Jam Aspiring Author Contest.) This is a huge accomplishment for me, and the experience did two things. It verified my growth as a romance writer, and allowed me to see, without hesitation, that the road to publication is worth the angst that sometimes accompanies it.
Go for yours.