Going for the Gold — Again

This is my first post for Waterworld Mermaids.  Since we’re celebrating our first year anniversary, you might well ask, where have you been all this time?  Was something fishy going on in the Mermaid Pond? So here are the possibilities.

Diana Mermaid was:

a.  Sitting around eating bonbons?  (The completely delicious, fat-free ones that never add an ounce of weight)

b.  Traveling around the world with a really cute and rich guy? (Imagine castles in France, the casino at Monte Carlo, the Yacht moored off of Mykonos.  <sigh>)

c.  Leaving all the work to her sister mermaids (because she is as prolific a writer as Nora Roberts and just didn’t have time)?

d. Late to the original meeting where the mermaids met, didn’t sign in, and thus didn’t get an invitation, until just recently, to join?

Anyone who knows me, will guess, yup, she was late — which I really, really try not to be.  But I’m here now, and letting out a great big SQUEE!!!  I have enjoyed every single one of these women as I’ve grown to know them as friends.  As you already know, they are quirky, smart, fun, beautiful ladies — outspoken and interesting, every last one.  So, maybe it’s time you met me, too.

I’ve been writing most of my life and still have stories saved from the time I was ten.  One of those early stories actually morphed into my adult book, Spy in the Mirror, that won the Golden Heart  last year.  This year I’m a finalist for the Golden Heart for another suspense novel, Spy in the Harem.  Uh, can you see a pattern there?  I do love my spies.  I also write women’s fiction — no spies there, just a lot of people trying to figure out their lives, like me.

So many people have asked, why did you enter the Golden Heart again?  For those of you who don’t know, it’s the top prize for unpublished fiction in my genre in the U.S.– like winning an Academy Award.  You can’t beat that, so why try for it again?  Well the answer is simple.  I really thought getting the award was a fluke.  I mean, me???  How on earth did I ever win that?  Do I work at my craft? Yes.  Do I pour hours into rewrites? Yes.  Do I have so many manuscripts in my bottom drawer that it’s slowly sinking into the bowels of the earth? Yes.  But, me?  Come on.  I was so surprised last year, I didn’t even prepare an acceptance speech.

When the “doubt monster” crept up once again, dubbing me a fraud, albeit a lucky one, I had no choice but to pull out my trusty sword and fight — except with this monster, the pen truly is greater than the sword.  I sent in my second book to the competition and didn’t tell a soul (I mean, imagine if I didn’t place, did I want anyone else to know I was a fraud but me?).  When this book made the finals, I can honestly say, it meant so much.  Not merely for the thrill of placing —  but because this second book was good enough to make it.  That means, maybe I’m good enough, too.  Maybe, I do have a shot at eventually getting published and having the career I’ve dreamt of since the age of ten.

What makes it even better is that Pintip Dunn, my fellow mermaid is in this class of finalists, too.  And gold runneth over in the mermaid pond — Kimberly MacCarron and Susan Andrews both finaled in the past, and the other mermaids have a ton of writing awards, too.

Still, even with the second nomination, I find I’m battling the doubt monster constantly.  He pervades much of my life, but really stinking hovers over my writing desk, telling me how useless every new draft is.  Every time I pick up my pen — or open a new page on the computer — he is there and I do battle.  Just by sticking to it, and being in the fight, I know I am winning.  Each word on a page is a medal of valor, that today, I rose up and did battle again.

So, I wonder, what is it that you lack confidence in?  Is there a doubt monster in your life?  How do you battle yours? (To leave a comment hit the word comment in the upper left margin above the twitter balloon.)

I’m sending each one of you a giant hug.  Have faith, we’re all in this life together.

Diana Belchase