On Jealousy

I spent a lot of time in my younger years being jealous of other people’s talents rather than focusing on my own. I wasted a lot of time wishing. I wished for things other than what I had and did things I wasn’t good at for the sake of being like those people. Like, I tried out of a musical recently. I’m a good singer, a decent actor, and have absolutely no passion for the craft. I used to once, but when I thought about getting cast, all I thought of was all the work, not the pleasure. I was in a pipe and drum band for five years. When I came to Ottawa, I thought about joining one up here but they are all Grade 4 and 5 bands (that’s the highest). Just like the musical, all I could think of was the work. It’s almost ridiculous how much time I have wasted wanting instead of enjoying.

I wish I could say those times are over but I still spend a lot of time wishing instead enjoying, being jealous instead of being satisfied. My jealousy is more focused now, at least. Now I realise I don’t want to be the musical theatre girl or the pipe and drummer anymore. Those were periods in my life I loved. I loved performing but the key to that sentence is that it is past tense. I know what I want now and that is to be a writer.

Part of being a writer is that you read a lot and in reading a lot, I have a lot of opportunities to be jealous. Inwardly, I realise that someone else’s talents cannot diminish my own. Outwardly, I panic at every word I write and think “this person did this already” or “that person could say this so much better”. When I read something that I think is amazing, I can’t help but grumble a little. When I read something I didn’t like, I can’t help but feel a little superior. Instead I should be enjoying the written word for what it is, whether it’s great or not, whether I think it’s better than mine or not.

I hope I’m not the only person that feels this way. It’s something that I want to work on in the future. I want to be able to just enjoy reading. I know I’m not going to be the next J.K. Rowling or have the staying power of Charles Dickens. I’m not expecting that. I guess my point is that we should put down the measuring stick and enjoy the ride, for better or worse.


Submissions and Contests

Happy Wednesday, everybody!

Today, I thought that I would share with you a few places that I’m planning on submitting. I figure some of you may be interested in this, and others may want to submit to these calls and contests as well. If you don’t already know about the website [places for writers], I definitely suggest you check it out. It is a website that posts open calls for submissions and contests. They’ve pointed me to the most obscure projects, but also helped me get published for the first time.

The Fiddlehead

Deadline: December 1st

Details: A Canadian Poetry (<100 lines) and Short Fiction (< 6,000 words) Contest. Top prize is $2,000 and publication. Must be snail mailed. $30 entry fee for Canadians. Includes one-year subscription. Open to international entries.

Monstrous Project

Deadline: December 1st

Details: Submit a 1 paragraph pitch for art (prose, poetry, comics, drawings, etc.) on body issues. For an upcoming, fledgling project on body image. May be included in online format or published in a book.

The Amanda Davis Award

Deadline: December 15th

Details: For female writers under 32 years old who is working on a short story collection or novel but needs funding to continue. $2,500 top prize. Need to submit writing between 5,000 to 40,000 words and a short statement about your financial situation. $20 entry fee.

PRISM Short Fiction Contest

Deadline: January 25th, 2013

Details: Canadian Short Fiction (< 6,000) contest with a top prize of $2,000. $35 entry fee for Canadian entrants. Includes one-year subscription. Open to international submissions.

filling Station

Deadline: February 15th, 2013

Details: A call for “Experimental Writing” by women. Up to 10 pages for fiction.