What if Writing Contest?

GenesisBy Pamela S. Meyers

Wanda Writer signed on to the ACFW eloop and scanned the list of posts. She kept her finger poised over the delete key, clicking on it every so often, picking and choosing which posts to keep and which ones to banish. She paused at a reminder from the Genesis Head Coordinator that there was still time to enter the Genesis Writing Contest.

A nudge poked its way into her mind to click on the message, but why bother? She’d entered the writing contest a couple years ago, and what did she have to show for her time but a lost entry fee and a judge’s comment that all but said she didn’t know how to write and should find another way to pass her time. It had taken her almost a year to get over that and start writing again. Her finger hit delete and the reminder disappeared from her computer screen and from her thoughts.

But, the next time Wanda opened her WIP to work on it, the nudge returned. She had taken those workshops at conference last year and joined a good critique group since that last contest. Maybe it was time to enter Genesis again. But what if that same judge or another like him or her got her entry? She never wanted to go through that again. She pushed all thoughts of entering out of her head and never considered entering the contest again. Weeks later when one of her crit partners shared how a contest judge’s hard criticism woke her up to a weakness in her writing and how grateful she was for receiving the judge’s input, Wanda questioned if she’d been too hasty in deciding not to enter the contest.

Does that scenario sound remotely similar to your experience with writing contests? Or perhaps you’ve never entered a contest before and get a case of jitters just thinking about it?
This is the time of year that writing contests for unpublished writers seem to be everywhere. Currently, ACFW’s Genesis (of which I am head coordinator) is in the middle of its first round, accepting entries through March 15. There are other contests also going on for unpublished writers you may want to look into by Googling.

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