Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fun writing contests for you!

Have you ever entered a writing contest? If not, give it a try!

“You don’t have to be an expert or published in [your] genre or have entered a lot of contests, you just have to try,” says Angela at WoW (Women on Writing). “You may think your writing is not good enough or other things your inner critic may whisper in your ear, but the truth is if you don’t put yourself out there, consistently, you’ll never know.”

A couple of years ago I invited you to enter a First Paragraph contest hosted by Pamela at Women’s Memoirs.

Did you participate?

I submitted an entry and—whoa! Women’s Memoirs honored me with a Silver Award! (Click on Silver Award to read more about it.) In Pamela’s post announcing the Silver Award recipients, she included each person’s paragraph and gave a brief critique of each.

Reading the other submissions and Pamela’s comments further educated me about fine-tuning that all-important opening paragraph. Click on First Paragraph Silver Winners Revealed for your own enrichment.

But let’s get back to YOU. If YOU have never participated in a writing contest, please give it serious thought.

Here’s an opportunity for you: WoW—Women on Writing—hosts quarterly creative nonfiction writing contests. The next deadline is October 31, 2017. Check here to learn more.  

Don’t miss Chelsey Clammer’s post, Writing Contests: You Have Nothing to Lose. She lists reasons most of us talk ourselves out of entering a writing contest. And then she points out, “Someone has to win…. Contests are created so someone wins, and you are someone.”

And even if you don’t win, Chelsey shares this wisdom: “Contests aren’t about who wins…. When we enter a contest knowing that we probably aren’t going to win, it is at that exact moment when we hit ‘submit’ that we know contests aren’t about who wins.”

She goes on to list what writing contests are all about, things like believing in your writing, meeting a deadline, and resisting the thought that your writing is about a dollar amount.

Chelsey concludes with this encouragement: “…there is one thing you’re guaranteed to obtain with each contest submission: just by believing in yourself enough to enter, you’ve already won.”  Click on Writing Contests: You Have Nothing to Lose to read Chelsey’s post.

Click here to download Women on Writing’s PDF about word count, deadline, guidelines, etc.

In The Ultimate Guide to Finding Christian Writing Contests, Jerry Jenkins offers lots of tips and wisdom, and also lists the following contests:

Take note: Beware of scams! Kelly Gurnett urges this caution: “Some legitimate contests do charge a small entry fee or ‘reading’ fee, but often a fee can be a red flag or a scam….” (Read about one such scam in Kelly’s blog post.) 

Jerry Jenkins recommends checking with Writer Beware to help you determine if a contest is legitimate 

Do consider entering writing contests.
In the process,
you’ll improve your writing, editing, and proofreading skills,
and if you win, or even get an honorable mention,
the publicity helps build your platform.

God has given you stories to tell.
They’re important.
Others need to read them.

Write your stories.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Before it’s too late!

Who can look into the future to know what will arise? 

In my July 27 post, I told you I was taking a break for family matters—but I didn’t anticipate being away for three weeks! 

Neither could I imagine what would happen to my heart.

My husband and I spent time with a parent nearing death. A few days ago, we said goodbye, celebrated his life, and comforted loved ones left behind.

Another precious relative, after enduring way too many tragedies in the past few months, ended up in the ER.

Three days ago, a special uncle died.

And we also continue to watch another dear one who has only days—or maybe hours—to live.

I’ve been experiencing some hiraeth moments, especially after my uncle’s death.

Do you remember my posts about hiraeth? Pronounced HEER-eyeth (roll the r), it’s a Welsh concept which, according to the University of Wales, can include “a mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness….”

It has to do with a strong attachment to a homelike place and a hankering to return to it. That’s what I’ve been experiencing—a longing to return to the halcyon years I spent with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Love, joy, kindness, and fun filled those times. And total acceptance. And safety. That’s why something in me longs to return to those people and those days.

It calls our names: we recognize the voice,
and it tells us that place is where we belong,
that place, where our roots go down deeper than our roots.
That is our home of homes.

But I digress. Anyway, now you know why I’ve been away from SM 101.

And little did I know how relevant that July 27 post would be—the last post before my break. Do you remember it? I encouraged you to write the important stuff before it’s too late.

I asked:

What wisdom can you impart to your kids and grandkids before you die?
What balance? What perspective?
What reassurance?
What can you demystify for them?

And I suggested you include those accounts in your memoir. (Click here to read Write the important stuff before it’s too late.)

With these recent reminders of life’s fragility, I’m even more convinced we need to be intentional about writing our stories—for the benefit of those who come after us. Not because you and I are so great, but because God is so great.   

“The greatness of old age is that it has wisdom, which is . . . important for young people. A young person who is about to face life has thousands of problems, but an old man can demystify many of those problems.” (Father Aldo Trento, quoted in Why Grandparents Matter)

My experience with loved ones these three weeks reminds me:

Life is short.
You don’t know how much longer you’ll have good enough health—
or even life—
to put your important stories into writing.

Don’t put it off!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tuesday Tidbit: Not because we’re so great, but because God is

Be sure to come back Thursday:
I want to tell you why I've been gone for a couple of weeks.
I'm still trying to patch my heart back together.

In the meantime,
I share this to inspire you to keep writing your memoir, 
your stories about your ordinary, everyday life:

You'll also want to read this related post: