Veronique Darwin

Not Winning Contests

In Inspiration, Thoughts on Writing on June 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm

It’s often okay not to win contests. I think it’s great.

Once, I didn’t get admitted to the Creative Writing major program at UBC. I imagined myself like Michael Jordan, who someone had to tell me didn’t make the first team he tried out for. Not winning things makes people work harder to win next time, to prove themselves. I thought: I will do this. Unfortunately, upon reading his Wikipedia page, Michael Jordan made the next team he tried out for because he both worked hard and grew four inches.

English: Former basketball player Michael Jordan

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m done growing physically, but my fingers are getting faster at typing and my heart is getting better at handling defeat. I have not won maybe four things now – that means I tried maybe four things now – and I am feeling the motivation.

I didn’t get onto the longlist for the CBC Non Fiction Prize. It was an understandably vast country that defeated me. Still.

I think of each non-win as a rung on a ladder. I step up every time I get some form of defeat or negative critique because these things make me work harder by rethinking things, by sobering my writing up.

Though I look to you like I’m falling, in the reality of my metaphorical ladder, I am climbing. There are only so many rungs to go until I’m so far ahead of the game I’m blowing you all out of the park. You being the whole country, the whole UBC Creative Writing program, and I think I once submitted something to The New Yorker, so the whole world too.


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