The literary underdog

I am currently watching the tennis at Wimbledon. It’s exciting to hear the crowd shout for their idol and yet with each match I watch, I find myself rooting for the player who doesn’t get the most cheers from the rain-soaked stands or has the higher seed against their name on the scoreboard.

I’ve been watching the Euros too and again I find myself cheering on the side that the commentators have decided, well before the penny has been thrown into the air to pick ends, aren’t going to win.  Perhaps they felt they didn’t deserve to get to the next round, who knows. I want them to prove the naysayers wrong, to come out from nowhere and have their left-field moment and show that they are just as good, if not better than the most popular team or player out there.

When short-lists come out for the latest writing award, it’s refreshing to see a new name sitting among the stalwarts. A bright, exciting light among the steady flow of shiny guaranteed winners. These are the writers I admire the most. The ones who jump out and surprise us.

As a fledgling writer, that’s what I aim to do. I want to prove to myself that I can do it, I don’t concern myself too much with what others think. I want to be that element of surprise. The one nobody was expecting to win.

I know what I need to do to get there too. I need to finish my latest draft(s) and embrace the dream-like conversations I hold in my head every day. Although, knowing me, the elevator moment I have been training for would probably go something like this:

Me: *presses ground floor button in lift*
Favourite agent: Hold the doors please. Thanks
Me: You’re very welcome
Favourite agent: I see you’re reading one of my client’s books? (in the whole grand scheme of things, they would probably never say this but bear with me, it’s my dream)
Me: Yes, it’s wonderful *I add in witty remark about any of the characters/plot/scene setting that makes me sound like I know what I’m talking about*
Polite pause with nodding of heads in agreement
Me: I….
The lift doors open and my favourite agent smiles at me and steps out. There is no golden handshake, no passing of business cards, there’s just me procrastinating in a lift.

I remain inside and the doors close once again. I wish I had talked faster I growl at myself as it takes me back up to the floor I came from. An old lady gets in, grappling with eight dogs on leads and they pee on my shoes. Serves me right.

‘Yes, of course I can send you my first three chapters’ rings out in my head as I continue on with my day.

I don’t consider myself an underdog as such, I just hope that if this scenario ever happens, I will a) know exactly who is in the lift with me and b) just get on with the pitch and see what they say in reply to my excitable planned speech and reddening face. You just never know because life is full of surprises.

I’ll have my 3rd set ace and my 92nd minute winning penalty one day.