We all like winning and receiving accolades. Recognition for writing validates why we bother to spend endless hours suffering over a word or a sentence.
nobody sane does it.
Why bother trying when in that vast world of published material your body of work is just a comma? Why bother entering a competition with hundreds of other writers, most of who are wag better than you?
Because we need strangers to tell us our work is worthy. Our friends and family believe we are brilliant. Strangers tell you the truth.
I recently lost a contest. Didn’t even get an honorable mention. Yet this loss proved successful.
I had entered Under the Veil in the Writer's Digest Self Published. Awards in the middle grade/young adult division . Books were judged on four criteria with 5 being the top score. My marks were Plot 4, Grammar. 5, character development, 5, and production quality and cover design, 3.
My two highest scores were for the most important elements: craft and character. Plot is necessary, but it 's the weakest literary element.
but the judge wrote "this is a wonderful book…my favorite….it is perfectly written for the age group intended…it was very beautifully done.”
The only negative comments was the judge wanted to know more about me (There is an author page in the back with a photo. And I do explain my motivation for writing the book on that page. I don’t know how much more I can do there.)
So my design cost me an honorable mention, or even a prize, But I got what is truly important: validation from a total stranger that I am a good writer.
Tomorrow begins National Poetry Month. I plan to write a poem a day. Most of them wil be terrible because it’s hard to write a good poem in a day.
Even so, I will also READ a poem every day.
If you haven’t already, sign up at napowrimo.org to write thirty poems in thirty days.
Also here is a blog post from last year rife with exercises: