What does it mean to be in the top five? Without any other information, it sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
If I’m one of the top five earners in a Fortune 500 company, I’m probably doing pretty well. If I’m attending one of the top five universities in the world, I’m probably getting an excellent education. In those cases, top five means something.
What if I told you it was for a monthly writing contest? Does it still sound pretty good? It’s no longer clear, is it?
I received an email yesterday informing me that my submission was well received and indeed was one of the top five submissions. Clearly it wasn’t number one in the judges’ eyes, since I didn’t win, but still, to be considered one of the top five seemed like an honor to me. I imagine that’s why sent that particular email, not to make me feel like my piece was way off the mark.
Then I got to thinking about it a little more, and I wondered, just how many submissions did they receive? Was I in the top five of only five received, or was I in the top five of five hundred?
Does it matter? Well, yes and no. Yes, because maybe my work really wasn’t very good but there wasn’t much to choose from, so by default it ended up in the top five. If that’s the case, I would love to know, and to learn specifically how I can improve. I’m not going to get that type of feedback, though, I’m afraid. In fact I was a bit surprised to receive the feedback I did get.
Since I’m not one to look gift horses in their respective mouths, I’ll just assume that there was a nice pile of submissions and mine hung around until nearly the end of the judging process. The thought puts a spring in my step and makes me want to write more. So what if there were fewer than a dozen entrants, that means next time I may even make it to the final round.
March 11, 2015 at 8:45 pm
Being in the top 5 definitely counts. No matter how many others submitted their work, YOU showed up, YOU submitted, YOU put in the work and did your part. That counts. You have no control over how many others wrote, submitted, or contributed; you only have control over yourself and your actions. Just by writing, submitting, putting in the work, you earned the place in the top 5. I understand how it would help to know more details for self-improvement, but at this point, if you did your best, take the top 5 slot and celebrate! Congratulations!
March 11, 2015 at 8:57 pm
What a wonderful reply, Laura. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.
March 12, 2015 at 3:13 am
Congrats! I think it’s great news, especially in the face of a marketplace and publishing era in which rejections are more common than anything else.
March 12, 2015 at 5:28 am
Thanks Jen. I think I’ll consider it a small victory. I appreciate the support.