The results are in…

My first writing contest experience has come to a close. My piece wasn’t chosen for any of the top spots, and as incredible as that would have been I’m glad that I didn’t win. I’m afraid it would have boosted my ego too much and I would never try to get any better. I still have lots of stories to share with the world, and now I’ll be able to do a better job having learned so much from participating in this writing contest.

What have I learned, you ask?

1. Don’t self edit too much
I find myself doing this all the time, be it an essay for class, a story, or even this post. I always want every word to be perfect, every comma in its right place, every character’s voice to resonate crystal clear with the reader. Sometimes that doesn’t happen the first time. As much as I would try, nothing would work. I just had to force myself to write through it every single time and try again later, and when I did that I was able to use my writing group to…

2. Get feedback from other writers
A fresh set of eyes can be huge for the writing process. What’s clear in my mid may not be clear in someone else’s. A character’s motivation may not be made clear given the language I used. A certain sentence may not flow with the rest of the story in some capacity. Small grammar errors can slip past me if I’ve been writing for a couple hours, but someone reading it for the first time may notice it right away. Speaking of giving feedback…

3. Give feedback
Giving feedback is the best way to get feedback. Anytime people gave me feedback, I made sure to check out their pieces at some point and give them any feedback I could. Hopefully it works the other way around. Giving feedback also helps me find other things to try in my own writing, since you’re reading a variety of different pieces. After all that editing and you’re ready to submit, all you can do is…

4. Wait
After submitting my piece, I kept checking to see if the contest winners had been announced. I was actually pretty nervous, what with this being my first writing contest and all. The best way to calm down for me was to do other things, be it writing, reading, or hanging out with friends. Distractions helped quite a lot with the anxiety, especially working on my book or other stories. When the results do come in…

5. Keep writing
Even though I didn’t win, I still got some terrific feedback on my writing and ended up reading some really cool pieces. That means I’m armed with that much more for the next contest I enter or if I submit to a journal, increasing my odds of winning or getting published!

That was, more or less, my experience with my first writing contest. Not the most literary of descriptions, but sometimes I’ve found that a list can be a great way to break something down. I’ve really enjoyed participating in this writing contest, and I’m looking forward to whatever the next opportunity is!

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2 thoughts on “The results are in…

  1. I agree about the contest. I am learning much from the reading of the others’ stories and trying to improve by crafting my critiques and comments. You are a great writer and I look forward to reading more!

    Like

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