Insert moonwalk, fist pumping the air, and smiling so wide my face is breaking! I wrote two stories for the Maryland Writers Association, I even mentioned it in a post here on my blog. Recently I found out that both of my stories are going to be published in their anthology.
What was the real commitment to enter this contest? Besides a few hours that spanned over several days of writing, I also hounded several people to beta read for me. That includes content and grammar suggestions, depending on who’s doing the reading for me. I cast a large net to find readers. Some are friends and others I find through Facebook writing groups. I think overall I had over a dozen beta readers combined on both stories. Though, probably more. The entire process of writing a story of about 3,000 words to a clean version takes several days.
Getting feedback feels good, even when it stings a bit. The hurt feels so good! Kidding, the hurt can be painful and frustrating. But I suture up the wound and keep on moving.
The cost for this contest was zero! Which is nice because some contests have reading fees. I refuse to pay over $20 unless I am guaranteed feedback from a panel of judges. Feedback from a professional is extremely helpful and often hard to find. Most rejections give you no feedback at all.
Waiting is the hardest part. I submitted them in November and found out the results in late January. That’s actually not that long, some turnovers can be much longer. I have two contests I submitted stories in right now, I won’t hear about either until late March.
An acceptance! What do I “win” for my stories? A free copy of the book. I know that may not seem like much, after all, another organization is likely to make money off of my hard work. In this case, I feel good about the MWA and what they do, so I hope they do turn a profit. In return, I also get bragging rights and most importantly, a nice bump on my resume for when I am scouting agents. Some contests have cash prizes or other novelties like subscriptions or software.
Rejections are such a big part of the writing process. It’s nice to mix it up and get an acceptance. Someone likes me! I’m proud of myself. I’m doing something right at least sometimes. I’m going to keep practicing this craft even when it’s hard and I doubt myself.
In the meantime, I’m going to beatbox in my head, do a little dance, and shoot my finger pistols in the sky. Come on kids! We’re going to get ice cream! Mama’s celebrating!!