Back sometime near the beginning of 2020 I entered a writing competition. Full disclosure – I didn’t win.
I did, however, get an “Honourable Mention” from the judges which pinged through on an email back in October. I told a few people, not many, and some suggested writing a post about it.
I’ve been avoiding writing said post for a while now and I expect that it’s mostly down to misplaced embarrassment. Who dances around because they got an honourable mention? I wasn’t even a finalist. There was the winner, the people shortlisted and then at the bottom of the pile the HMs. To be honest I felt a bit silly being excited about it.
It doesn’t help that the phrase “honourable mention” is imprinted on my brain as the award Monica and Ross receive in their eighth grade school talent show’s brother-sister dance category, with their famous performance of “The Routine”. If you don’t know what I’m referring to then we are probably on very different life paths. Go watch Season 6, episode 10 of Friends immediately and then get back to me.
They are so proud of their achievement – which of course creates that wonderful humour which stems from dramatic irony. How many brother-sister acts actually entered the eighth grade talent show after all? Yet they are so proud of their HM in what we can only assume was a very limited pool of contestants.
I guess, to my shame, I was worried that my HM announcement might be received in the same way and I really didn’t want to be doing “The Routine” on a blog post and leaving myself vulnerable.
Then I read an article by a lady who has been writing (unpublished) for 20 years. Imagine that. Other writers popped up in the comments; 5 years, 7 years, 10 years until they had a positive reply from an agent or publisher. And here I am in year 1 of actively pursuing my goal of being published. Who am I to laugh at an honourable mention? It’s a start and I am only at the beginning after all.
The main advice the other authors gave about keeping yourself motivated on the (potentially) long road to publication was this – celebrate every small step; shout about every little win; be proud of the HMs and the long lists and the almosts and the not bads and the maybes and actually be proud of this fact – you entered the competition in the first place and you put yourself out there and said hey, this is my writing, World.
Look – there’s even a link. Scroll down and my name is really there – with all the other amazing Honourable Mentions.
Next step, the podium at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve to show everyone that yes it’s a small step to get an HM but it’s still a step and that’s worth dancing about.
And just for fun, here’s two of our best friends performing ‘The Routine’ like absolute lockdown legends…