I’m registered in a Harry Potter RP site called Hogwarts Extreme, which hosts an annual writing contest – Project Ink. I was only about one month old on the site when the contest applications were opened, and because I enjoy writing, I submitted a freshly-written piece on a whim. I was happy with what I came up with, but I didn’t seriously think it would take me anywhere. Imagine my immense surprise then, when I found that I had been accepted as one of the twenty contestants for the months-long writing competition. There were seventy applications this year. I went mental and promptly panicked.
I don’t do well under competition. My best performances, in any field, were completed with absolutely no concern for keeping up a certain standard that someone else has pegged. I deliver my best reports when I don’t worry about anybody possibly doing better. I write my best papers when I don’t care what the teacher will think as long as I’m satisfied with my output. My best exams are the massive, national-level ones, where I don’t know any of the people I’m being pitted against, and therefore don’t stress about so-and-so seatmate definitely scoring better than me. The fact that Project Ink was a competition was what fazed me most – not the actual act of writing under a time constraint. In the end, I didn’t make it to the finals, but I’m completely happy that I made it as far as I did. I didn’t think I had it in me to compete, in anything. I always believed I would fold.
Aside from the feeling of accomplishment caused by having pushed myself as far as I can go, I learned a lot about my relationship with writing. I’ve learned that when pushed, I write about people – that I write only because I like people, and I like picking them apart. I’ve learned that although I literally, physically feel sick when I don’t write, I won’t be able to function as a writer. I don’t want to be pushed to write – I just want to write at my own pace and standard, which I think, for my level, is stringent enough. Above all, I’ve discovered what I demand not only from my writing, but from myself in terms of facing life as well: sincerity. I don’t want confident words or polished scenes; I want sincerity. As long as I achieve that, I’m happy.
PS I’ll be posting the things I wrote for that contest in this blog. They’re also posted in Hogwarts Extreme, but… just in case.
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