Thursday, September 23, 2010

Brown envelope jitters!

I'm sure writing isn't the only profession where you get the jitters from an envelope but apart from GCSE/A level results I can't think of any off the top of my head.

Every time I head to the post office with a pristine envelope in hand it sets of a small case of the butterflies in my stomach. Sending off any hard work (and entrusting it will get to the recipient in the same pristine condition??) is like putting your heart on the line. You are sending it to be judged and it's a pass or fail thing. But unlike the aforementioned results you have no idea when the results will be in (unless it's a well run competition of course!) So you are left waiting and wondering what the outcome will be.

My theory on getting over the jitters is not to wait and wonder. Doing that will more than likely cause one of two things to occur. 1) You will start to believe that it is the world's greatest piece of work and why haven't they contacted you yet, or 2) You will decide it's the world's worse piece of work and you should stop writing. Neither of which are healthy. So rather than wait and wonder you should move onto the next piece of work. No matter what it is do something and try and learn from each piece of writing you do.

As you may have guessed I have just returned from a brown envelope trip to the post office. In my sweaty palms (they weren't sweaty really I'm just going for dramatic effect?!) I had three items. One was my book proposal for how to books (fingers crossed it doesn't end up at the bottom of a slush pile!), the second was an entry into the daily mail first opening paragraph competition and the final one was a postcard entry to win a break on the Isle of Wight!

The reason I mention the postcard is because it kind of spells the recipe for curing the jitters for me. Anyone who knows me or read this blog regularly will know that alongside writing I love entering competitions. Generally these just involve filling out forms but over about three years I have won lots of fantastic things! People often comment how lucky I am but the truth is it's not so much about luck sometimes it's more about just entering. If the postcard I sent today was the only competition I entered then the chances of me winning are very slim. It will definitely not be the only thing I enter though I will enter 100s of others online and probably win one or two. The same applies to writing. If you put all your hopes into one envelope you are bound to get the jitters and not likely to get anything in return . You are bound to wait and wonder what the outcome will be. You need to remember your envelope will be pitched against hundreds of others and although it may be your best work it will all depend on who is making the judgement. So enter lots.

So in the coming weeks whilst I await the outcome of my book proposal I am going to ensure I get on with my writing. I will enter writing competitions, finish my one act play and do some short stories and get them all off on their brown envelope journey. So at the end of it, like my postcard competition entry, I've just got to hope that at least one of them gets picked. What I won't be though is the person that says I never win (with either writing or competitions) because if that was the case it would mean I wasn't trying hard enough!


  1. I know that brown envelope feeling only too well! Currently I'm waiting on two submissions that I posted a few weeks ago and trying not to think about them (yeah right!)

    Hope you hear some good news soon x

  2. You are right Clair, I can pretend not to worry but wondering about it already!

    Good luck with your submissions and hope we both receive good news soon x