Tag Archives: markets

Contest Bound – Four Important Things to Remember

How many of you enter contests? My critique group challenges each other to enter. In fact, we often enter the same ones, pitting us against each other. It’s fun when we win together as we did last year at OWFI.

POLISH, POLISH, POLISH: Contests are about more than winning. It’s about focusing on your craft. We polish our stories to the point where we couldn’t possibly look at them again, then we submit.

SUPPORT SYSTEM: It’s hard work and because of that it’s important to do it together or to at least have a support system in place. No writing takes place in a vacuum. We may create alone, but we never publish alone. Bring the whole team together before you submit your writing.

GUIDELINES: Never take any guideline for granted. Whatever is listed, follow it to the letter. The last thing you want is to have your story rejected for something as silly (to our way of thinking) as formatting when you could have done it right and WON. The people running the contest have good reasons for those guidelines and as professional writers we have to adhere to them.

SHARE: Writing is enough work, but add social networking, marketing, etc. and when does a writer have time for anything else? When you hear about a contest, share it with other writers. We’re all in this together, an ever-growing community of artists. Help each other out. None of us have time to find them all, and beginning writers may not even know where to look.

In that vein, here are some I know about (and do feel free to share these with others):

Dead of Winter: Winter-themed contest


Literal Latte Fiction Award


National Writers Association Novel Writing Contest


On the Premises (These are fun)


What are some of your favorite contests?


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Filed under Writing

Support Your Fellow Writers

Thanks to Tangynt for the award for my blog. Let’s spread that appreciation. If I’ve tagged you, here’s your appreciation award. Post it to your blog and then select fifteen writers whose blogs blow your mind.


Filed under Uncategorized

Mind Games

A friend sent me this wonderful link to a website listing journals that are open to new and emerging writers. I was thrilled to see it even though not all of the names on it were new. Each had a brief descriptor giving insight into that particular journal and links to their websites. Perfect, right? My initial excitement should have been followed immediately by my seeking the writer’s guidelines and looking to see what pieces of mine might have fit which of those journals. That’s the way it works.

Not exactly. No, immediately words jumped out at me from each journals descriptors; quality, innovative, imaginative, excellence, publishes only the finest in fiction, writers with exceptional promise, powerful imagery and dynamic prose…okay, I’m going to just stop there because I’m getting physically ill. Suffice it to say the expectations these journals list do not have beginner nor emerging writer anywhere on them. Are we those things? Maybe. Probably. In some cases, absolutely. But seriously, who can see beyond the expectation of that?

I began thinking of my pieces and being my biggest critic, none of those things applied to me or my work. I wasn’t qualified to send these people a fan letter let alone a submission. What the hell made me think two years in an MFA program and a few publications and a novel later, I had the right to submit to a market that wanted only the “finest” in “powerful” fiction?

If you ever questioned why so many writers drank themselves senseless, this is it. Where else do you see people having to live up to these kind of expectations? Certainly not our politicians. Or lawyers for that matter. No offense intended, and all jokes aside, no one ever expects the best from either of those so we’re beyond thrilled when we encounter a good one. And as for the entertainment industry? Most of them move through rehab and prisons as a part of their celebrity internship so expectations aren’t a problem for them.  Expectations are so low there, we get all excited about a movie like Titanic and give it an Oscar. Enough said.

We not only face the rejection that people in entertainment face but we also face unreasonable standards which means we are set up to fail. Write a masterpiece. Still, if you aren’t Stephen King or Jodi Piccoult, you’ll make nothing. And probably not sell enough for a second novel to be picked up by a publisher. I know, totally Negative Nellie. So, you ask – and rightly so – why am I still here, still doing this?

Writers are masochists? I don’t write because I choose to. Lord knows, given a choice I’d do something less taxing. But writing is the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing I think of when I go to sleep at night. I feel guilty when I’m not writing. I feel guilty when I’m writing and ignoring everything else. No matter how much guilt I feel though, the words flow through me. I couldn’t stop them if I wanted to. And I don’t.

That website? http://www.writehabit.org/journals.html Why am I sharing? Because misery loves company, don’t you know?


Filed under The Life, Uncategorized, Writing