For any writer you may feel at times like you are standing alone on a rock off the coast of a jagged shore. The water is turbulent and it is constantly crashing at the limestone under your feet with the fury of raging bull. You may wonder how much longer this weak stone can continue to hold you up. And what are you doing here anyway? You are standing here making things on paper forming and shaping these creations that you feel are art. You spend hours and hours creating this thing which is to you a magical wonderful world, it is a glimpse of something more from inside you. This art, this magnificent creation, you set it upon the water and it sinks slowly before you. It disappears below the surface like it never was at all. You realize what you did wrong. You know you can do better so you start all a new. Sometimes it is reworking the same idea and sometimes it is an all new creation. Whatever this may be the result is always the same.
This sounds very negative I’m sure, however, I’m just referring to how it feels. See for me I run this blog that nobody reads and I publish stories on Amazon and I can see that nobody has noticed. (Here is the optimistic part) But I shall continue to keep doing it out of sheer love of the product. I love to write and create, it makes me happy. I’ve always said that I will always write and draw even if it is just as a hobby. I wish I had more time and I wish I could focus more on that which I need to improve upon. Anyway everyone is full of wishes and I certainly know I am not alone.
To all writers who are struggling and looking for opportunities I offer to you some solid advice. Do not pay to enter something unless it is a low reasonable amount and start local.
I have heard a published author say to never ever pay for a submission to a contest. I however set my own limit at about $10 depending on the contest. I also suggest being really choosy about what contest you enter. Sure you might have a fantastic short story or poem or essay but that doesn’t mean it is right for every competition. Read about what they are looking for and limit yourself to entering a few a year so you take the time to be choosy and chose the right few. Also always follow the directions for formatting very closely. When these people have a million submissions to go through they’ll happily find a reason to instantly dismiss you.
Start local means reach out to that which is within your reach. I have won short story contests in Dayton through my college. I started writing for Dayton City Paper. These things are local and they look quite decent on a resume. Doing the articles has helped me with writing in general, typing speed, and self editing. Neil Gaiman did a commencement speech at a college and he gave some really excellent advice. Always work towards your goal even if it means taking a pay cut. Keep moving in that direction and eventually you’ll either get there or get close enough to either be happy or realize it’s not really what you want. That is not a direct quote it’s just a gist.
I recently found some writing contest opportunities on Reddit. I spent 40 minuets on this application only to get to the end and realize it cost $30 to enter. That’s a bit much just to apply for something. I guess they had the price on there and I did not notice it. Alas life is full of these not so obvious charges. Everyone needs money, even cool projects I guess. I did not complete my application. I am not going to pay $30 for an application that may very well be rejected. If I had been accepted I would happily pay $30 no problem. But to pay that just to enter seems kind of Bullshit to me.
Anyway something I am planning to enter is this It’s a writing contest for the Dark Crystal universe. They will post all the good entries on their website while only one person really wins the full on book deal. I have heard other writers complain that this is just a way for the company to get a lot of free material. In my opinion even getting posted on the website might be a nice little publication for the resume and an opportunity to win a book deal is really cool. I personally really like the Dark Crystal and the Jim Henson company. Honestly I’ve had many a fantasy of working for them. I would love to bring back some of the fantasy adventure less for kids like they did with Dark Crystal movie and Story Teller series. I’d like to bring some of my mask making into their productions and help the company to go into a new darker direction. Anyway for the novel I already have something of an idea I just need to start writing it out.