Friday, August 08, 2008

Ok, can't wait any more, I have to blog about this

This blog is about all things writerly, and it's the way I deal with the things that happen to me as part of the writing life. So I have to write about this, even though there are things I can't talk about yet, because this is definitely part of the writing life and definitely something I didn't find so easy to deal with. Alrighty, here goes:

Over a 24-hour period at the beginning of this week, I won three prizes in three short story competitions.



I won third prize in the Momaya comp, 2nd prize in the Vignette Press short story comp, which they haven't announced yet, and 1st prize in a comp whose details I am not allowed to share until November.

I got the email about Vignette Press on Monday morning and I was delighted. That and Momaya are for the same story - Drinking Vodka in the Afternoon, which was broadcast on Radio 4 last year. Funnily enough, just the day before (honest, this isn't poetic license) when i discovered that Drinking Vodka hadn't got anywhere in this other comp, I said to myself, Well, it's a nice story, it's gentle, no fireworks, it's just not a winning story.

The universe said something else.

When I popped to the Momaya site later that day just to see if they had announced - and assuming that had i got anywhere they would have let me know - my heart almost stopped when I saw my name. I was stunned. I couldn't believe it. All in one day. Amazing.

Then, the next morning, when I got the email about the 1st prize for a 600-word story that I wrote a few months ago in my writing group, I was literally blown away. I think my body went into shock. I couldn't do anything, had to watch crap TV and eat chocolate. I wasn't elated, I was confused. I kept thinking, But that story... how could it have...? How could they...?

I have told a few people and they say I should be delighted, I have to celebrate, but I am at a loss for how to celebrate. I don't know how to celebrate - I don't drink, what should I do? I think if it had all been spaced out a little more, I could have taken it in, slowly. But it has thrown me - am I becoming one of those "prize-winning" writers that you hear about? But... but..

Stop whinging. It's ridiculous to whinge about this. I am totally ashamed at my reaction. But if I can't do it here, where can I do it? I wasn't expecting this, I didn't think I needed it - the universe whacking me on the head with a frying pan and saying, Girl, you are on the right track. I thought I was doing ok. Ok, is good. Ok is safe. Now I have to shift my thinking, shift gears or something.

I will close on the ecstatic note I should be hitting - it's GREAT in terms of publicity for my book, GREAT in terms of the money which will pay for my travel to the La Muse retreat GREAT because Drinking Vodka is the first Mary Margaret story and part of my project for the writing retreat is to keep writing about her and this gives me a fabulous push, GREAT because the 600-word story will be in the flash collection I am working on so that gives that a push too.

Great. It really is great. There's obviously something wrong with me because I am not jumping up and down. Jump. Jump!


Vanessa Gebbie said...

JUMP JUMP IN CAPITALS!!!!! You stunning lady!

well done you


Bill said...

Absolutely brilliant news, Tania!
You should be very proud of your fine talent.
Well done.

LiteraryMinded said...

First of all - congrats! Second of all, I know exactly the feeling you are talking about - kind of a blankness?
It has happened to me when I found out I was getting something published. It was like there was so much excitement that it just got blocked. Or perhaps there was some fear or doubt - like I didn;t want to get excited because they might email back and say they'd changed their minds, or they couldn't fir it in anymore. Or fear that this was just a one-off.

The important thing about this is it gives you both credit and opportunities - to do more writing! And that is what it's all about.

So a very big congratulations :-)


Sarah Hilary said...

Oh Tania this is absolutely the best news ever. So many many congratulations! I can understand how you must be feeling overwhelmed, so much in such a short time, but stack it against the effort you put in - writing, editing, sourcing contests, subbing - and you'll see that it's no more than you deserve. A full and proper - and just - recognition of your talent. I'm grinning so hard it hurts. So happy for you! You total, total star!!

Nik's Blog said...

Actually, this has got me thnking about the nature of celebrating success, and what success actually is to us writers.

I don't think anything beats the buzz of that first acceptance; after that, any success is filed (at least by me) under: this is what I do; I should (and am) pleased, but rarely elated. I think the exciting part, again for me, is making that great idea for a story into a good story.

That said, I don't really do comps (this is changing, as well you know!), so I've never won one, let alone two in a day, so can't really pass comment on that. But I'd say, be pleased; accept that you ARE doing things VERY MUCH right. Celebrate if and when you want to. For me, it'd be enough, simply knowing I was good, you know?

Congratulations - it's still a heck of thing to have achieved!

Nik XX

Gay Degani said...

Tania WOW congratulations. I don't know if you ever saw the movie "Field of Dreams," but there is a catch phrase used by Kevin Costner in it: If we build it, they will come.

When I read your blog, these words popped into my head, "If you write it, they will come."
And for you:

If Tania writes it, they keep coming.

You are very cool.

Linera Lucas said...

Such wonderful news! And yes, I know what you mean about not being able to take it in. Oh, I'm so happy for you!

Tania Hershman said...

V - thank you, I am jumping!

Bill, you are kind, thank you.

LM - yes, I felt that with the book deal too - fear, doubt, this can't be right. This is a kind of blankness, that's a great way of putting it - maybe it floods all my excitement receptors and they just shut down!

Sarah - you are lovely, you made me smile :)

Nik - it is an interesting question, isn't it: what is success? And how the goalposts keep shifting. But this has definitely made me feel good about my writing, no doubt about that.

Gay - I like that a lot, although not sure they will "keep coming", which is fine! I think maybe I've had my share now :)

Linera, thanks so much, nice to hear that you understand about my problem celebrating, that makes me feel a little less embarassed about my reaction.

Thank you all, your comments have made me much happier.

Elizabeth Baines said...

What fantastic news, Tania! Many, many congratulations. What better proof could you have of your talent?


Elizabeth Baines said...

Tania, this is wonderful! (I tried to leave a comment before but something weird happened and I don't think it got through). Many, many congratulations! Such brilliant proof of your talent!

SueG said...

A resounding WOW from me, too! Celebrating is a weird thing, though, I agree. When I got my novel published, I actually had a "hierarchy" of celebrations: going out for a glass of champagne when I got the acceptance, 2 glasses with friends when the contract was signed, a big party for the launch. But actually, I was just stunned throughout most of it. Why is it hard just to be happy, huh?
But I'm SOOOO happy for you.

Kerry said...

I believe what you have there is your very own literary hat trick!!! Seriously amazing amazing news. Congratulations! xx

p.s. Nothing wrong with celebrating with chocolate and trashy TV!!!

Jocelyn's stories said...

Congradulations! I'm not in shock at all at the news. You rock.

Julia Bohanna said...

Wonderful Wonderful - but simply talent coming to roost.

Enjoy. Jump. Accept.

Big hugs - well-deserved.


Sarah Salway said...

Brilliant, brilliant. Enjoy it, Tania. You deserve it. But all coming at once like that! I bet you couldn't believe it..!!! x

Douglas Bruton said...

You don't know me... I am a recent recruit to Fiction Workhouse since when I have heard your name again and again. it was V's blog that directed me here to read about your success... fantastic Tania. Three in one day is pretty amazing and you should be jumping... but I understand your reticence... your doubts and your uncertainties... and writing is such a funny thing... the best that you do not always recognised and other pieces that you think just good shining brightest. Good luck with the book.


Tania Hershman said...

Thank you Elizabeth (x2)!

Sue - yes, stunned is a good word. Is it that we're not taught well as children how to embrace and enjoy success? I thought maybe it was a British thing!

Thank you Jocelyn, good luck with your collection!

Julia, thanks for the hug and the great "bra" comment on V's blog, I love it.

Sarah - I definitely couldn't take it all in. Strong drink, that would have helped, i can see that now :)

Douglas, lovely to meet you, thanks so much for popping in, and congratulations on your own success in the Interpreter's House comp!

Lit Flood said...

Well done, Tania, that is amazing!

I can't wait to find out about the secret location of your first prize...


Women Rule Writer said...

Wowsers. Big congrats, T. I know that 'It's all too much' feeling. You almost shut down with trying to contain the news. Dying to know what the 3rd one is. Well done, girl.

ireneintheworld said...

you are certainly on the right track tania. well done and fantastic power to your elbow! x

OSLO said...

I've come late to this as I've been away for three weeks but what absolutely fabulous news! Hope it has all sunk in by now (Aug 16) and that you're taking your 'prize-winning writer' status in your stride :-)