Hitting the Contest Circuit

So it’s that time of year again – contests, contests, contests. Many of the RWA chapters are launching their contests and lucky me, I have a manuscript to submit.

So what is entering a contest like? I equate it to watching your child stand on a stage for the first time and recite their lines for a play. Do all the words make sense? Is the inflection right? Do you feel emotions in their performance? If not, will they get booed off the stage?

We know in real life a small child reciting their turkey poem at Thanksgiving will probably get a standing ovation whether they flub their lines or not. This is not the case with a contest.

You enter a contest for feedback from the judges who have no emotional commitment to you and will be honest if your writing falls flat. You also enter a contest because you hope that if your writing is good, it will place in the top three and be read by the final judge who will more than likely be an agent or editor. To get your work in their hands is important to build your reputation as a writer and hopefully be asked for the full and, glory be, a contract!

The emotions surrounding submitting to the contest can be stress-inducing as well. Hit submit on the submission email and you send your ‘child’ out onto that stage, waiting to be discovered. I hope for the standing ovation and not the rotten tomato in the face. Either reaction helps me grow as a writer. Although I will tell you tomato stains are a pain to get out of your clothes!


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