Saturday, May 4, 2013

Competition page updates




I have just updated the writing and poetry competition pages for May, June and July (just follow the links for each month) and while I'm aware I've only touched the tip of the iceberg in what I present on these pages, I never ceased to be amazed at the opportunities that abound for writers and poets from all levels of experience. 

Entering competitions can be a useful way of refining your self-editing and proofing skills, to ensure the words and format make your poems speak as intended and/or preparing short stories according to competition guidelines.

Whether submitted in hard copy or electronically, presentation (like any first impression) is all important.  

When going through publisher's and competition guidelines at a workshop many years ago, I was amazed to hear one woman argue against following set any criteria - refusing to double space or follow other formatting guidelines as requested because she refused to waste paper. What she couldn't understand was, her refusal to comply led to 'waste' anyway, as her entry wouldn't have made the first cut.  

If a competition is worth entering, it should be worth spending time reading and following the guidelines to make sure you poem/story has every chance of reaching the first short-list at least.

Another observation on competitions is, after it's all over, after you've polished your story to perfection, formatted exactly as requested, sent it off and waited... 

not letting yourself expect to receive the phone call or email to inform you're in the running, yet hoping, therefore expecting, it anyway - and nothing... 

just the long silence of self-doubt...

this is when you know intuitively you've missed the list with this one...

when you put the 'Oh well' smile on your face well in advance of the formal announcement of winners...

but still hoping...

someone phoned and you missed the call...

the email diverted to your spam folder...

until the date of the announcement passes and it's someone else on the podium smiling graciously...

while you applaud, frozen smile on face, from the sidelines...

What you do next is pick up your bike from where it landed when you fell, get back on and pedal on to the next opportunity. Don't look back to see why your entry didn't make it this time - and I mean this time, because there's always another competition around the corner (and doesn't the sheer volume of competitions tell your that) and who knows what the next judge's preferences are. 

I suggest you don't look back to see what was 'wrong' with your entry, but look instead at the winning entries to see what it was about them that made them stand out. This is most often one of the best ways to turn a negative into a positive - to step aside from your own work and say, 'I can see why this story/poem won,' because the recognition of quality elevates your own work when viewed as having been in the company of other illuminaries.






1 comment:

  1. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

    ReplyDelete

For some reason I'm yet to fathom I'm unable to reply to comments left by others so thank you for dropping by and taking the time to read and comment. Merlene