Sunday, October 03, 2010

Writing Contests

I entered a writing contest through Writer's Digest back in July.  It's actually a pretty big writing contest, the 79th Annual Writing Competition.  There were 10 categories you could submit in and there were going to be 1,000 winners announced.  I don't know when exactly they were going to notify people that they had placed, but the website said "in October".  Well, October is 31 days long, so now I wonder -- should I wait until November 1 before accepting that I am not one of the 1,000 people whose story placed, or should I just accept it now?  It's only Sunday, October 3, 2010 so the month is still young.  There is a possibility that I could hear something anytime between now and October 31.  So, I've decided to just put it to the back of my mind and focus on upcoming writing competitions.

Since I was 13 I've wanted to be a writer.  I consider myself a writer, absolutely.  I keep a journal and have been keeping one since I was 16.  I started the journal as a way to cope with being a newly transplanted 16 year old -- my father had just retired from the Air Force and moved the family from beautiful, sunny Southern California to majestically mountainous Colorado and I was starting my junior year of high school.  I was not happy, which is a huge understatement.  So, the journal writing was my way of coping with a new high school and new students and a new "culture".  Colorado and California are very different places and, at 16, I considered myself a Californian head to toe.  In college, my dream to write continued but my father said I had to have a "real" goal so I decided I wanted to be a lawyer.  I had always been fascinated by the law and anything to do with the law.  I knew I'd need a college education to become a profiler with the BAU at the FBI and I figured a law degree would look good on my application to the FBI.  I majored and received a BA in English Writing in 1998, still dreaming of being a writer but I did not go to law school.  My father was extremely disappointed that I didn't go to law school and it showed in the way he treated me until his death.  He loved me, but he was extremely disappointed in me and that never changed.

I still have keep a journal and now I have this blog.  I don't write in this blog as much as I write in my journal but I find the blogging to be cathartic.  I've heard arguments for and against blogging and I know that, in the age of social media, you lose some amount of privacy when you decide to create a blog, create a profile on Facebook or MySpace, and relate the interesting and mundane in 140 characters on Twitter.  I have nothing against any of those sites (I have a blog, FB page and Twitter page).  I don't tweet multiple times a day but I do tweet multiple times during the week.  To me, it's all a form of writing, some are just more public than others.

So, I'm a writer.  I'm not an author.  As of today, I don't have any written pieces that can be found in bookstores or on sites like Amazon.  I dream of one day walking through a bookstore, like Borders or Barnes & Noble, and seeing a book with my name on it sitting on the shelf, waiting to be purchased.  I love walking through bookstores.  I love walking through libraries.  I love anyplace where a large collection of books can be found.  I love books.  I want to see my name on a book, with my picture on the back.  I want to greet fans and sign their books and have my picture taken with them.  Now, that might be selfish or something like that, but it's my dream.

Writer's Digest has two more writing competitions coming up that I can submit to.  There are other contests on the Writer's Digest website, but they are poetry contests and I don't really enjoy writing poetry.  I love reading poetry, but not writing it.  So, I figure the more writing contests I enter, the better I will get at the art of written storytelling.  I love telling stories, but sometimes I have difficulties transforming my verbal stories into written stories.  I'm still going to follow my dream and one day I know I will walk into a bookstore and see my name on the front and my smiling face on the back.

Now I wait.  I'm waiting to hear from Writer's Digest to see if I placed in the 79th Annual Writing Competition.  I'm writing too, working on two different fiction stories, one to be submitted November 1 with a max word count of 4,000 and one due December 1 with a max word count of 1,500.  The story I submitted for the 79th Annual competition was a max word count of 4,000 and that was difficult.  I'm not very good at telling short stories, but I'm learning.  I definitely need to work on perfecting my craft.
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