Positive Words: For creative writers everywhere literary magazine, July 2014 issue
Great news! Last year I entered a stack of short story competitions and one of my non-fiction stories was shortlisted for the Positive Words December competition.
If you’re an unpublished author, why would you spend valuable time writing short stories for competitions? Shouldn’t you be focussing all your energy on getting your novel written and edited and into the hands of publishers?
It gives you motivation to get something written to a deadline.
It’s easy to say “I’ll write every day” and then get overwhelmed by the demands of daily life – work, social life, maybe study, cooking, cleaning – and put writing on the back-burner. You don’t need to write every day, but if you don’t write something regularly, you’ll stop identifying yourself as a writer and lose motivation to write at all.
It’s a chance to experiment with new styles, genres or plot types without risk of failure.
We all know that the only way to write better is to write more. But if you’re only writing within the same novel over and over, your writing can get stale. When you hit writer’s block in one project, it’s a nice boost to be able to thrash out a short story quickly and then return to your first project with a renewed sense of accomplishment and creative drive.
It’s a way of getting feedback, good or bad. It’s encouraging if you do win or get shortlisted. It shows you’re making progress in improving your writing. You wrote something the judges thought was worth reading. And if you weren’t selected, then sometimes competition judges will provide feedback on the reasons you didn’t win, which is helpful.
It helps you to feel connected to your writing community. Writing alone in your garret? Boring. Sending stories out into the world regularly to competitions is a nice way of knowing someone is reading your work, and often it’s a great way to get feedback.
Working in publishing, it’s easy to become disheartened working on making the dream come true for so many aspiring authors while you’re not seeing progress with your own dreams. But I’m looking forward to the day when it’s my turn to see a book I wrote on the shelves.
Image source: Photo of me, by Slade Photography, 2011
Check out http://positivewordsmagazine.wordpress.com/ for more information about Positive Words literary magazine.
This post was written by TJ Withers-Ryan © 2015. Re-blogging is always highly encouraged as long as you credit me as the author.