Here’s the thing that absolutely struck home with me. The chefs were judged on the success of the dish and also on their introduction of it (cover letter/query/synopsis) and their personal attitude toward it. It was fascinating to see the chefs who lost confidence in their dish halfway through cooking it and who felt worse and worse about it, to the point that when they presented their dish, all they could see were the flaws. (Writers? Are you listening?) They gave poor presentations, and even if the judges liked the dish, the judges didn’t like that the chef wasn’t confident enough to believe in their own creation.
There was one chef who had never won a single challenge in the entire show (months of rejections). He decided he was going to keep a positive attitude and give it all he had to knock it out of the park. He relaxed into what he was doing and believed in his voice, his story, and his own unique point of view. He hoped it would win, but more than that, he knew he was the only person who could tell his story his way. He stopped worrying, and stopped comparing himself to other competitors, and maybe even stopped working for the judges and instead worked to make that plate something he enjoyed and was having fun with.
(You know where I’m going with this, right?)
The guy who had never won before won.
As writers, we have to be able to edit ourselves and to read our own work from the point of view of someone who doesn’t know us, or even like us. We have to try to be objective. We have to be humble. We have to have high standards for ourselves and strive for continual improvement.
But if you don’t love your work, if you aren’t enthusiastic about it, if you’re not having the time of your life when you write it, if you can’t focus on the things you’re doing well and feel good about those things, then maybe no one else will either.
See the good in you.
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