Writer’s contests are part of the great agony and bliss of a writing journey. We love them. We hate them. We need them.
But how do you know what contests to enter?
I’ve entered several different writing contests and learned a thing or two about contests.
1. A Contest is not the place to look for validation as a writer, but for feedback.
2. Great writers sometimes have poor contest results.
3. Analyzing the common threads in feedback will help you make the right changes.
I learned these from the many contests I entered.
BUT one contest revolutionized my story and future writing.
A few years ago I entered the Frasier Contest for the first time. The feedback was phenomenal! Not only did I get the type of feedback that had a lot of common threads to work with, I also felt affirmed by the positive approach to the critiquing. That year I received Bronze Medal Recognition and landed requests at conferences to send in my manuscript.
But that is not the year that had the greatest impact on my writing. It was the year I didn’t final at all. I entered the Frasier Contest for the second year with hopes of finaling. But what I received was much more valuable to my career than just contest recognition.
The second year I received feedback I didn’t want to hear. You ask, “How can that be more valuable than recognition?” Because it was the change I needed to make, the last set of changes to a story that landed me an agent.
At first I didn’t want to listen. I had all kinds of excuses. They just didn’t understand my writing style. You name it, I came up with it until I was finally honest with myself. The judge was right. I needed to make some changes.
Since the second year I entered the Frasier my writing has changed. I’ve grown as a writer and personally.
The Frasier revolutionized my story and my writing journey. I encourage you to take the plunge too, but only if you are willing to really listen. To really grow. And just maybe win. If so, The Frasier is for you!
INFORMATION ABOUT THE FRASIER:
Entries for the 2013 MBT Frasier Contest for unpublished novelists will be accepted through Sunday, March 31, at 11:59 p.m. The contest is open to Voices members. The winner will receive a scholarship to a My Book Therapy coaching retreat ($500 value). Final round judges are award-winning author Susan May Warren; literary agent Steve Laube; and Shannon Marchese, senior fiction editor for WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. For more information, FAQs and to enter, visit www.mybooktherapy.com.
What have your learned from entering writing contests?