By Nancy Roe
The American Heritage College Dictionary defines a contest as “a competition, one in which entrants perform separately and are rated by judges.” A judge is defined as “one who makes estimates as to worth, quality, or fitness.”
Most writers think of a contest as a creative challenge under time constraints, assigned elements, and offering prizes for the winners.
In my opinion, anyone who has written a book, short story, poem, or blog post has entered a contest. Instead of trying to ‘out write’ other contestants, you’re trying to win readers. Instead of a specific panel of judges critiquing your work, you pray that people will leave a positive review. The most critical judge of your writing is YOU!
Any type of writing consists of your valuable time, effort, and marketing. Let’s face it, if you don’t tell anyone about your writing, how will anyone know you’ve written anything?
I’ve entered numerous contests over the past six years. I’ve never won anything, but I keep trying. Some might say I’m wasting my time. I say I’m challenging myself. A portfolio with a contest win doesn’t hurt your career, and it’s a fun way to experiment with your writing.
In January, I entered the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. There are three rounds of competition (Round 1: 8 days to write a 2,500-word short story, Round 2: 3 days to write 2,000 words, and Round 3: 24 hours to write 1,500 words). Each round is divided into heats, and each heat is assigned a genre, subject, and character.
Round 1 consisted of 4,000 writers from around the world. I’m thrilled to announce I placed 1st in my heat which was assigned spy, a private club, 99-year-old man. I joined 624 other contestants in Round 2. My heat was assigned crime caper, advertising, and a caterer. I’ll find out the end of May whether I enter Round 3. (Keeping my fingers crossed.)
Get your creative juices flowing, have fun writing, and enter a contest! I’d love to hear your story.
Nancy Roe has self-published six books. Her latest mystery, Black Roses for Cassidy, was released in March 2018. She served as a panelist at the Killer Nashville International Writer’s Conference, speaking about self-publishing, minor characters, and dialogue. On Nancy’s website, you’ll find articles on organizing tips, recipes, craft ideas, computer tips, grammar tips, and unusual holidays. Even her dog, Shadow, writes an article—there has to be humor, and he’s a funny guy! Nancy is a Midwest farm girl at heart and currently lives in Tennessee with her husband and four-legged child.