by Linda ThorneOkay, I’m still inundated at my day job, but something happened that got me back to writing. No, not back to where I want to be, but back to spending hours at a time on my work-in-progress, A Promotion to Die For. Even though my job in human resources continues to deplete every iota of my energy, I’ve found a new way of relaxing. No more sleeping in on days off or staring uninterestingly at the TV. Instead, I take every available hour I have for writing and revising my unpublished novel.
The good advice I’ve been getting from my author friends has been building up. I’ve listened, but it still wasn’t enough to get me going. Then an e-mail reminder hit my inbox notifying me of an upcoming deadline for a contest I'd entered in the past, one for unpublished novels. I didn’t want to enter and I didn’t think I had the time, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I avoided it for days then suddenly felt compelled to submit. I spent hours getting my submission ready and made their April 1st deadline.
I’d forgotten the power writing contests always had over me. For years I’d entered the Minotaur Books/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition with my first book. This contest is free for those mystery writers who have not yet published a novel. Their judges read your entire book. That’s an opportunity you don’t often get. Sometimes I think the motivation to win this contest was what drove me to get the finished product I needed to find a publisher. There is no second or third place winner in this competition only first place, in the finals, or out of luck. I never won the contest, but for two consecutive years I was among the finalists.
I also recommend: The Sandy Writing Contest, The PNWA Literary Contest, and The Colorado Gold Writing Contest.
Contests are motivational because there is a shorter-term possibility of getting something in return. You have a good reason to polish your submission. There’s the hope of a win of some sort. You’re given a deadline, so you meet it instead of dallying around. Then there's the invaluable feedback many writing contests offer.
So, I’m back to writing. I may be limited in time by my day job, but at least I’m back. My advice to new writers and those with writers block is try a contest. It’s always worked for me.