Monday, September 20, 2010
The Write to Contest
Confidence - Putting yourself out there creates the building blocks of armadillo skin. And, writing contests allow you to construct the confidence you need to pursue your writing career. Not only that, you have to consider that we tend to labor in relative seclusion; our ideas & stories hiding away in our hearts, on our PCs or in the hands of beta readers, critique partners & critique groups. As we begin to widen the arena, we build confidence & skills. And it sure doesn't hurt to win, place or show either.
Tuning your guitar strings - Whether it's writing to a deadline, a topic/idea, or a word count; your writing is being honed through the contest exercise. Every word counts; every construct has to be solid. Contests allow you to whet the stones. They also permit you to showcase what you have learned. If you don't tune the strings, the melody will never be attuned to the words. Words & music - that symbiotic relationship to which we all strive.
Cue the audience - Contests allow for a variety of audiences to be entertained. In this regard, you are able to think outside of your normal pencil box. Genre, theme & audience differ from contest to contest; therefore, you are learning to stretch your writing muscles in order to compete on many levels. Runners don't run a marathon on day one and neither should we. Practice runs, endurance tests, speed bonuses. Don't forget the water stop.
Pub Cred - You know when you're sitting at your monitor, churning out those pin-prickling queries? You get to the credentials clause & what? Contests provide the gap in your bio - whether it's honorable mention or the golden ring. Sliding in with some bonafide credentials means you will be taken more seriously. And, who doesn't want some of that cake? I'll take two, please!!
Writing contests provide a multitude of benefits. Practice, honing, nails - I feel a carpenter metaphor somewhere in there. So, here's the question: What benefits do you believe are most important? And, are you considering any contests this year & next?