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I'm a winner, I'm a sinner, do you want my autograph?

I've written a couple PMs now about "How does it feel to win the first WF Grand Invitational Poetry Challenge?" I figure I can maybe try to write about it here and get it sorted. First, the memory I'm going to carry with me is that poems I voted for in the People's Choice were award-winners. To me, that is more valuable than my win. Second, I want to say that my main feeling is one of relief. And lastly, I want to express my profound gratitude for all the folks who made it happen.

When I read the poems, I had a favorite. A poem that just stood out to me. That poem was So Close..... It arrested my attention when it was first posted and then it hung there, in my memory, when I read the subsequent poems and reread them all before casting my ballot. I was so pleased to see Chester's Daughter named as a challenge winner for writing it. My other choices were arrived at after more deliberative thought. But choosing the winner by instinct and deliberation means I have some grasp of what good poetry is.

As for winning, I was relieved to discover that, yes, I am an above-average poet. I'd like to think I am, but in all honestly, I've been taught to not brag on myself or own my ability. And so I constantly fight an inner battle to accept that, yes, I'm good. Good enough. Lois McMaster Bujold has quotes for all occasions and this is no exception.
Lois McMaster Bujold said:
You couldn't be that good and not know it, somewhere in your secret heart, however much you'd been abused into affecting public humility.
In the case of the character, she's astonishing (as only a fictional character can be) at her craft. I'm not that good, but I recognize that maybe I'm better than good enough. And the relief that I'm not lying to myself is overwhelming.

And to everyone who made this work, a huge thank you. Those who did the behind the curtains work, those who did the front-work, those who entered the challenge, those who voted for the People's Choice—without you this would not have been. You crafted reality from a vision. Every piece came together into a whole that was amazing.

Comments

Good stuff Annie. I'm surprised you needed to win the Invitation Challenge to realise that you're 'an above-average' poet. I'm glad that you've expressed that you had some lingering reservations, because you don't normally come across that way on here. In a bizarre way, it gives me hope :)
Congratulations on the win, though I suppose we all won if we learned something from the experience.
 
that's nice of you to relay your thoughts and i can really appreciate that sometimes we do look outside of ourselves for recognition or vindication of one's ability...basically there are two types of writers on WF....people who want to advance and move forward in a more structured and formal way and see how far they can go in the literally world..which is you and others who use the place to learn and read and just share their words amongst others with no real direction..which is cool....i think you have given yourself to this site like so many others and i look forward to looking in a book store one day and finding your work waiting on a shelf....
 
Phil, I think perhaps I wasn't clear. I think I'm good. I think I'm very good. But is very good good enough? I dunno. That question doesn't go away. It doesn't help that I'm into the kinds of poetry that isn't really what people want to read. I know that popularity is on a different axis from quality, but writing is about communication and without readers, that cannot occur. How do I know I'm writing what people don't want? Because some vast majority of the submission guidelines I see specify they do not want rhyme and/or meter.

And esc, I want people to buy my work--what I don't want is to bet my mortgage on my writing. I submit, but I don't blog or post about it much because it's mostly rejections, same as a lot of folks at my phase. While one more round of "me too" might be encouraging to some people, I don't like being another me-too person.
 
astroannie;bt6296 said:
Phil, I think perhaps I wasn't clear. I think I'm good. I think I'm very good. But is very good good enough? I dunno. That question doesn't go away. It doesn't help that I'm into the kinds of poetry that isn't really what people want to read. I know that popularity is on a different axis from quality, but writing is about communication and without readers, that cannot occur. How do I know I'm writing what people don't want? Because some vast majority of the submission guidelines I see specify they do not want rhyme and/or meter.

And esc, I want people to buy my work--what I don't want is to bet my mortgage on my writing. I submit, but I don't blog or post about it much because it's mostly rejections, same as a lot of folks at my phase. While one more round of "me too" might be encouraging to some people, I don't like being another me-too person.

It looks like I read your OP in a way that you never intended - I can be good at that :) .
You aren't the first to encounter that conundrum between popularity and quality; it goes way beyond writing too.
I realise that a lot of modern poetry is in free form, but I am surprised to hear that submission guidelines are so anti-meter or rhyme. Even though end rhyme can feel highly contrived (unless well written) some meter and internal rhyme still feels to me like an inescapable part of the art form.
The more I learn, the steeper the curve appears.
I want to be very good too.
 
risk is there for you and you have to deal with that on many levels..we all need a bit of luck in anything and hey..good luck with that...
 

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