In very short order this past week, I learned both that I was not a winner for Volume 29 Quarter 3, and that I was also not a finalist in Quarter 4 in the Writers of the Future contest.
Am I sad that I didn't win? A little bit. But really only a very little.
Earning the finalist placement was a huge validation for me as a writer. I was in the company of a huge number of authors whose work I enjoy and esteem. Besides, not winning one quarter is not the end. I have every intention of continuing to enter every quarter until I win or manage to "pro out."
"Pro-ing out" means that I would have sold enough to professional markets that I no longer qualify for the Writers of the Future. If I have accomplished that goal, I have accomplished something mighty, so I don't fear that result either.
For Quarter 4, my story earned an Honorable Mention. This was my third Honorable Mention in the contest, so my record now stands at two rejections, three honorable mentions, and one finalist. I look at this and feel like I'm pointing in the right direction.
Right now I'm finishing up edits on my submission for the first quarter of Volume 30. I'm excited to get it out the door and into the slush pile, to join the two stories just returned from WotF and ten other stories I have in circulation at this moment.
No looking back for me.