The thing about contest season is that a few months after it ends, you get rejection season. Almost all of the contests will send an actual rejection email these days, and having them all come at the same time can be a blow to the ego. Even if, like me, your method of dealing with contests is to enter them and then immediately assume you’ve lost (or else why would you spend the next few months working on an even better script?) it’s still disappointing to get it actually spelled out.
This is a good time to go looking for an easy win. In my case, I decided to sign up for a UCLA master class in TV writing, which came with a whole application process because there are only eight slots. (I’d considered taking one of these classes before, but never tried because although it’s twice the number of classes as a regular class and twice the credits, it’s 5x the cost. I couldn’t think of how that would make financial sense. As it turns out, when your employer pays for your education, it makes plenty of financial sense.) The number of applicants is much less because the prize is that you get to give UCLA a lot of money, and candidates have to have already taken at least a couple extension classes. I don’t know how many applicants they had (I’ve been joking that I’ll probably arrive at the first class and find out only seven people applied) but yesterday I got my approval. Whoo!
Anyway, look for your own easy win. It doesn’t have to be an actual contest – is there an article you’ve been considering researching and publishing to your own blog? A consulting service you’ve been considering using? A charity that could use some freelance help with their mission statement? Do you have the kind of relationship with your mom where you can call her up and she’ll tell you how great you are? You should call your mom. You’re not a terrible writer. Look for any opportunity where that will be appreciated. Yeah, sure, you’re fishing for compliments. As long as you don’t keep it up all year long, you make the world a marginally better place, and later on you focus on making your writing better, it’s okay to fish for compliments now. Forgive yourself for being human and indulge a bit. There’s always another contest season next year.