It's not if you win, it's how you play the game.
So they say. But there is still a joyful sweetness in victory, in being the best, that isn't matched by the taste of being runner-up.
My short story Beyond Happily Ever After won second prize in the Mid North Coast Writers Association short story competition which was fantastic. And I still thought how nice would it have been to take out first prize.
Still, if it hadn't been for Carrolline's encouragement I would not even have played that game. I wouldn't even have entered the competition. I hadn't written a short story with any intent for nine years (not counting homework and exercises with the writers group) and was convinced that I couldn't even think of a story that could have a beginning, middle and end in less than 2000 words. Holding the 'I can't do this' thought firmly in my head led me to thinking about fairytales and their short, succinct nature and I started wondered about Cinderella and what happened after the happily ever after. Once I combined the fairy tale traditional nature of the story with the perils of being a modern princess dealing with the tabloids and the pressure to produce an heir, the story practically wrote itself. I've just sent the story off to an anthology...we'll see what happens.
There was a time when I hated losing because my livelihood was depending on it. It's never fun to find out that you came second out of 150 applicants for a job. Then it becomes a what's wrong with me? But there are times over my career where I have applied for jobs that have been totally out of my league, and been hired for a secondary position that wasn't even advertised. I suppose it shows, you've got to be in it to win it. Even if it's not clear what the actual prize is.
One of the ladies at my writers group mentioned last week that she's become a competition addict. She's had a few highly commended but hasn't actually won anything as yet. But I can tell that she's enjoying the journey and in that process, she has her own sweet taste of victory.
Because when we set ourselves a goal and achieve it, we are victors in our own life. Far ahead of the couch potatoes mindlessly flicking the channels. There may be no prizes attached, unless you've bribed yourself with a box of chocolates or a dinner out, but it is the self-fulfillment that is the prize, that gives the sweet taste of victory. Maislow had it right with his heirarchy of needs - self-actualisation is the best. And being victorious does not necessarily mean beating other people. There is enough sweetness of victory for all of us to share...if only we are willing.
This is the final blog-off post in this round of the blogoff. Funny we talk about victory in this post, because yes someone will win and take home the pot of money, perhaps! Or maybe as in the last blogoff, the winner will donate the winnings back to Courtney's fundraiser. The victor is in the list on my sidebar under Blogoff Participants. Who do you think this round's victor will be?
Oh, and my post a little early this week as I'm off to Byron Bay Writers Festival tomorrow morning. Whoopee!