Okay, I don’t actually know if it is contest season, but it seems to be, what with all the contests being announced!
I’ve been busy with school (only six weeks in my current class and 16 weeks in the fall, and I’ll be finished this degree!) so I haven’t done much writing, but I’ve been doing some critiquing and am thrilled with what I’ve been reading, especially from four authors–one already published and three I am sure will be published in no time. Seriously, they’re fabulous writers! In any case, I’ve been busy. However, I’m excited because this week was a “light” homework week, and that means I have this weekend to write! Or rather, polish what I have, look at entry guidelines, and enter some contests!
Contests are new to me, but can I tell you something? They’re great learning tools! And I’ve noticed quite a bit of confidence building in each contest I’ve entered (which admittedly is only one with another one about to happen in the next day or two, and a third by the middle of August–with maybe another one or two thrown in there for fun, because who doesn’t like extra work?!). So if you’re a writer, I highly encourage you to start entering contests. But first? Polish those stories! Get avid readers to go over them. A fresh pair of eyes (or two or three pairs of fresh eyes) will see issues with point of view (something I struggle with), sentence structure, pacing, etc., that you can’t see right now. But when those eyes point out the issues to you? Wow! You’ll see your work in a whole new light–a beautiful new light.
So go ahead and enter those contests! Take a look on my Check It Out page for links to various contests, which I’ll update as I hear of more.
Go write now!
You know how you work hard on something? And you don’t let anyone read it with the exception of a few other writers (who have helped tremendously with point of view and “showing, not telling”)…until that one moment you find out about a contest that could potentially lead to a publishing contract. That moment? Yeah. I just had that moment. And suddenly, I have officially entered a contest that could see me racing to finish my work-in-progress by mid July. Of course, I have to finish this crazy capstone class I just started today, too. But priorities. 😉
So while this post is short because I’m exhausted, it’s a joyful post because God is really giving me the go-ahead and courage to start putting myself out there. Whether I advance to the next stage of the contest (it’s three stages) or not, the reward of just pushing “send” and having faith in Him is enough.
Now I think I’ve deserved my pillow. Goodnight!
Oh, revisions! I submitted my first chapter for critique this past week, and received some really great feedback! I knew going in that I have POV (point of view) issues, and I tend to “tell” and not “show”. In other words, I tend to tell the reader what the character is feeling (“Nervously, she looked behind her”) rather than show the reader what the character is feeling (“Her heart thumping, she looked behind her”). Or kind of like that. 😉
Anyway, revisions can be tough. I had four very kind and wise people make changes and suggestions. The key is to take the good and dump the not-as-good. I didn’t change everything that was suggested, but I definitely had my eyes opened on the areas I need to work over again. And this is before an editor ever looks at it!
Growing up, I thought writing was easy. HA! No. It isn’t. Even after I grew up and realized that writing is harder than it looks–and even after working for an author as his assistant!–I still didn’t quite understand until I started this journey for reals. 😀 It takes not just creativity and a story idea, but technical skills, such as sentence structure and grammar, and so many other tidbits!
What I can say about writing, though, is that if it’s your calling, your God-given gift, then do it. It’s truly an incredible experience. And even better? The other authors you meet along your journey. I still shake my head in wonder at the friendships I’m building, both with unpublished writers through the ACFW and with published authors–both debut authors and those who have been writing for a couple of decades. That networking and friendship-building has probably been the most priceless part of this experience so far. Not only are writers encouraging and incredibly helpful, but the ones I’ve met so far have taken priceless time out of their day to explain something or teach me something, or even offer to critique for me in order to have my MS ready for a conference meeting.
So, as exhausting as writing can be–and the process is long–it is so very rewarding. It’s taken me a long while to come here, but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.