Friday, August 25, 2006
I have a competitive side. Under my quiet, nerdy exterior, there is a person who loves the thrill of victory. Like most people, I hate to lose. So I have to pick my battles wisely. Not too long ago, I found a great outlet for my competitiveness: writing contests.
I never thought about entering a writing contest until my Fairy God Mentor (see previous post) encouraged me to enter one. My partner and I worked on a flash fiction entry for one of Desdemona.com's themed contests. Since it was a short piece, I didn’t think it would take long to finish. Yet, we spent a lot of time and energy on it. We exchanged emails, edited, revised, and fine-tuned.
We sent our joint entry, and we each sent two individual entries. I was certain one of our entries would receive at least an Honorable Mention. I thought our joint entry could take first place. My partner warned me not to get my hopes up. I didn't listen. When the results were announced, I looked for our names. Nothing.
I was crushed. Devastated. I emailed my partner to express my disappointment. He told me not to take it seriously. It was a valuable experience, and we could still find new markets for our stories. After stewing for a few days, I got over it.
I realized he was right. The contest was a great writing experience. It gave me the motivation to focus on a particular theme. I read past entries, and I wrote the best story I could. After writing, I took the time to carefully edit and make sure the story was perfect. At least in my eyes. Afterwards I had a story that I could send to another publication.
After that experience, I entered two more erotic writing contests. I was one of 15 winners in one contest. In the other contest, I wasn't in the top three. However, I did receive a request to read the entire manuscript. Both contests have lead to publishing contracts with 1) Forbidden Publications and 2) Liquid Silver Books.
If you haven't entered a writing contest yet, I encourage you to try it. Even if you're not a competitive person, you will feel that desire to be the best. You might win; you might not. At the very least, you will have a story, novella, or novel that is good enough to submit to a publisher. That's as good as gold.