Putting yourself out there by Candi Wall



OH! Super cool update! Laura Bradford confirmed she’ll be here for our November Agent Shop since

gremlins messed with our last run of e-mails and this Agent Shop was cancelled. She’s a stellar lady peeps!

“This is wonderful. I could feel everything your character was experiencing!”

“You’ve got a strong voice and the writing was sublime…”

Oh, yeah. You all know what I’m talking about. The big grin, the heart thumping that goes along with opening your e-mail, contest scores, comment section, twitter, or whatever venue you use to put your writing out there, and reading something like that!

It’s like CRACK!

More, more! Gimme more!

‘Course, the negative comments can be just as intense .

“You really should pick an author you like and try to emulate them.”

“Your characters felt cardboard to me, and your villain was nothing more than a cliché device to throw in some failed tension.”

Kill me now!


Okay, so it’s not that bad. As with everything, we have to take any and all comments with a grain or bucket of salt.

As writers, we’re going to come across every personality, like, dislike, good day, bad day, that our readers have. We’re going to be held high by a reader that just adored everything we put into words, and we’re going to be knocked so low, getting back up will be a Herculean task.

Color me a glutton…

But I’ll probably keep putting my work out there, through contests, groups, sharing sites and of course my Beta readers and Crit partners.

Wanna know why?

Simple. Feedback, friendship and the chance at winning!

And believe it or not, that’s the order of importance I take when I enter any contest. Feedback is gold.

As most of us do, I started this journey alone. Through contests, writing groups, and networking, I’ve found the most amazing people and am lucky to have them. I don’t believe for a moment that without them, I would be as far as I am today. And that in itself is enough reason for me to feel justified in encouraging any writer, at any stage of their craft, to get out there, take a chance, let others see what you write and learn what you can from what you get for feedback.

Soak it up like a sponge, retain what you need, and let the rest evaporate.

I took my first tentative steps into networking waters by joining Charlotte Dillon’s Romance Writers Community. Best choice I ever made. That’s where I met Jenn, Marie-Claude and John. I took a chance, they took a chance, and we found a solid foundation of friends to share our journey with. That friendship and professional connection remains today!

Marie-Claude stepped WAY out of her comfort zone and entered Dorchester’s American Title V contest and WON! But if you ask her, she met and remains friends with numerous other writers to this day, and that’s something even winning can’t compare with.

My first public contest was Dorchester’s Next Best Celler contest. It was hell. Pure and simple. Vote tarting sucks, that’s all there is to it. There was some back biting, some down voting, oh – it was tough, but again, out of the great, not-so-great, and sometimes questionable comments, I gained a group of ladies as my friends, all of whom will give it to me straight when I’m doing well, or writing crap.

‘Kinda makes you feel all mushy inside, don’t it?

Yeah, me too.

So I’m on to my next contest.

The Mills & Boon New Voices contest

I’ve met one stellar writer already, and I know she’ll be a friend way past this contest. I’ve read some great entries, left what I hope are seen as constructive comments and gained some as well. I’ve been down voted too, and it’s still early in the competition. but I’m looking forward to it just the same, because regardless of the outcome, I’m coming out of it a winner. Either with feedback, friends or (fingers crossed) a win.

New Voices is open to any writer who hasn’t been published. the deadline is Oct. 10th, so swing in and enter!

So, have any contest experiences you can share, good or bad? I’d love to hear about them.


13 Responses to Putting yourself out there by Candi Wall

  1. Because you are too awesome to keep down!


  2. I popped over to their site and read your first chapter. It was nicely done! I enjoyed the setting, the characters, and how the story developed. I’m sorry it was for only one chapter!!

    Hey Everybody!! Go check out the site and leave a comment for Candi!! You won’t regret it.


  3. jbrayweber says:

    Feedback is so important and great friendships are hard to surpass. I agree. Opportunity comes knocking for those who actively puts themselves out there. Candi, you’ve always been fearless. I so admire that about you.

    I voted, and I’d have given you a bouquet of roses if I could. Your 1st chapter was awesome.

    Good luck!


  4. Terri Osburn says:

    I’m also in the New Voices contest and having the courage to hit submit was so hard. Even now there are about eight things on my entry I want to change/fix/add. LOL! I saw your chapter floating around the top of the heap and recognized the name. A million other things have me pinned to the mat (not the least of which is M&M coming up) so I planned on reading more entries next week.

    However, I’m headed over to read yours now! Good luck!!! And great blog. I enter very few contests, but feedback and final judges are my two top priorities.


  5. Great blog, Candi and a great opening for the piece you entered in the competition:)

    All the best, gal!



  6. Yay Terri!

    I know what you mean. I hit enter and read the chapter once it was up and immediately cringed. Did I actually write THAT!?! Oh well. It was little things.

    Thanks for looking at my entry, and I’ll take a look at yours soon!

    Anybody else wants to see it:

    Good luck Terri!


  7. Thanks Loretta!

    I’m having fun and getting some good feedback. Noting too specific yet, but I think some competitors are a little nervous about saying anything negative. It’s hard to make constructive criticism comments while your also an entrant IN the contest.

    I’m hoping more people will start to pick things apart – in a nice way of course!



  8. Terri Osburn says:

    Thanks for posting the link! Just read yours, left a comment, and now it dawns on me I forgot to rate it. LOL! Headed back over!


  9. I follow your blog but I don’t think I’ve commented before. I have to say that any reader/editor/critic who would say:“You really should pick an author you like and try to emulate them.” is a bit of an idiot.

    We all have our favourite authors but what makes or breaks a writer is her original voice, not how well she can copy another author’s voice.

    Hang tough!


    • Hi Madeline!

      Eh, I just shake it off when I get a rude comment. My skin is thicker than leather now, but in the beginning, it used to get me down.

      This is probably the worst I’ve ever gotten, but boy have I heard some REALLY mean comments others have gotten. To the point that I’ve encouraged them to file a complaint.

      And your right about voice. I think this person probably was trying to say I should learn from the author, but it really came across badly.


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