Other than a couple blogging contests, I haven’t entered a writing contest since high school. Of course, I hadn’t done much creative writing after high school until a few years ago. Nothing like time-and-energy-draining motherhood to get the creative juices flowing.
I’m not a terribly competetive person. You can thank my dad for that. Even though I had childhood dreams of playing baseball for the Mets (after all, they named their stadium after me 😉 ), I never got to play sports much. He was more willing to pick me up from a theatre rehearsal than driving me around to different games.
But I’ve always found sports “contests” to be easier to understand than writing or other artistic competitions. With sports, there are clear and definitive rules that make for a winner or a loser. There can be rules for artistic competitions, but in the end, isn’t the work chosen as a winner a subjective choice made by the judge?
I’m okay if I don’t win writing contests. It proves to me that I have to work harder at what I do. The challenge is the whole reason I enter in the first place. When I start getting better, then maybe I’ll expect to win or at least “place.” And if I still don’t win, then, well I guess I just didn’t tickle that judge’s fancy.
But that’s the nature of writing.
As an author, you’re not going to get the entire world to enjoy your book. Some people, for whatever reason aren’t going to like it. Maybe you unintentionally dug up a bad childhood memory with your story, and that memory belonged to a contest judge. If all a judge thinks about when reading my piece is how his older bully brother, who had a bed-wetting problem, would stuff his head under the mattress for five minutes and make him breathe in the noxious fumes, well, I could understand if he doesn’t like it.
But I would hope a judge could be more objective. 🙂
NaNo word count: 7279