Writing contests… What compels me to set myself up repeatedly for an emotional one-two punch? That is my initial reaction anyway, after the rejection comes, or the silence when my beloved story is knocked senseless to the mat after all the arduous work.
Eventually, after much moaning… ahem… soul searching, reason returns, and I take away the valuable lessons and start my next story.
How about you? Do you submit to writing contests to hone your skills? Are you a writer who thrives in that environment or shuns it? Share your highlights, successes, and best lessons in the comments.
How’d You Like my Dramatic Intro? The Games in Question? Writing Challenges…
Are you addicted to entering writing contests? I think I might be headed that way. And I think it’s because they punctuate my ho hum life with bursts of pure adrenalin pumping excitement. But it’s excitement I can engage in without leaving my studio and keyboard, so it’s still within my comfort zone.
If nothing else comes from the frantic writing, editing, and finishing it all on a deadline, and the nail biting as I hit the submit button, there is that… nice comfortable excitement. But my pod people (characters who live in my head, aka transplanted alien pods) keep urging me to do this because they want a chance to be heard. My book sales don’t really achieve that on a great scale.
I should clarify that I haven’t entered many yet. A lot of them I’m still investigating. My very first one this summer was a free challenge that rewarded ten chosen stories out of 300 submissions with publication in a trophy anthology. I was blown away when mine was selected, and I got hooked on the process.
Then, a friend told me about NYCMidnight competitions. If you want a thrilling way to hone your writing skills on a tight deadline with a genre that’s a mystery until the moment you’re scheduled to start writing, click on the link. There are multiple rounds to strive for, so multiple chances at untried genres with random objects and places thrown in. Can’t get more exciting than that!
My next goal is submitting to magazines. I’m excited about the anthologies planned over the next year with Dragon Soul Press and hope to try for a few. I did go for the competition offered by Uncharted Magazine seeking up to a 5,000-word novel excerpt. I have two novel WIPS I’m excited about that I submitted. By now I think you get that I’m excited about writing challenges.
And of course, there’s the big one looming in November, the free challenge that really gets those novels primed, NaNoWriMo. This year will be my second. No nail biting involved, just lots of writing and counting words. Totally fun.
Now, the downside to entering contests and challenges. I thought hitting the submit button was the most nerve-wracking part. Nope! It’s the waiting. But waiting means anticipation and anticipation means excitement, so you really can’t lose, if you like writing with a side dish of hurry up and wait, and wait some more. But hey, there’s always more stories to write and submit while you hunker down and wait for the email that might change your world. Hmmm. I think I just hit on the recipe for getting addicted to submitting to writing contests and challenges.
So far, I’ve also found that opting for the feedback, when it’s reasonably priced, makes the whole experience well worth the long process, however it ends. And really, the process is worth the process. I’ve learned tons for every submission.
Let me know what contests and challenges you enjoy, and how often you like to submit, and you don’t even have to confess to an addiction.
Below is another exciting opportunity for a short story contest.
I belong to a great group of global writers in the Fantasy Sci Fi Writers Alliance. We just developed a short story contest for our members. Click here for information and how to join.