Writing Contests – Not for the Faint of Heart

Whether you’re into flash fiction, nano fiction, steampunk or sci-fi, there’s a writing contest out there waiting to be entered.

Fear of Submitting

Fear of Submitting

As I add fiction to my repertoire, I’m exploring the online world of writing contests and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Here’s what I mean – when we enter a contest, we’re putting our stuff out there for someone – a guest editor, a panel of university instructors, or maybe a group of published authors – to tear apart and critique and decide whether or not we win.

That shouldn’t be such a big deal, since some of us have been putting our stuff on the line with clients for a long time now. But there’s something so very personal about telling a story or crafting a poem and having a stranger judge it.

It’s not really the same as submitting a piece to an editor, is it? The whole idea of contests, with the attendant promise of A PRIZE, our names on a website and a little badge to place on our blogs, is in a different realm than writing something and sending it off to an agent or publisher.

There is, at least in my psyche, a variance between “published” and “winner”.

And there’s a whole neurosis that develops once you’ve hit the Submit button. Your baby is out there on its own, being dissected click by click. Do they like it? Am I an idiot for thinking the Whatever Review will even read the piece? And what if I don’t win? Should I just click Delete and never speak of it again?

And here’s the final question…if my little piece of prose doesn’t make the cut, am I officially a Loser?

Not sure how to answer those questions yet, but in the meantime, I’m writing those bits of flash prose and sharpening my short stories because this time, dagnab it, I’m going to win!

So what do you think? IS there a difference between submitting a piece for publication and entering a writing contest? By all means, weigh in. I’m probably overdue for some balance.


photo credit: via photopincc





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