Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Post-Resolution Blues

By Ronda Simmons

We are well into January, so how are your resolutions coming along? You know, the ones about writing more, submitting more, or improving your writing skills? Whether you call them goals, resolutions, plans or dreams, this is about the time when those New Year’s promises start to get a little shaky.

Never fear! I’ve got the perfect way for you to shake those post-resolution blues.

Drum roll, please . . . . enter a writing contest!

Don't let those blues get you down

I gots dem blues

No, seriously, just do it.

The NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge

One of my writing partners suggested I enter the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge last year. I can honestly say this contest, and others like it, have greatly improved my writing.

Go here and sign up. The entry deadline is January 25th.

Here's how it works. There are three rounds of this competition. The first starts on January 26. You'll be assigned a genre, a subject, and a character and you'll have eight days to write a 2,500 short story given those constraints.  

If you make it to the second round on March 29th, you'll get new criteria and three days to write a 2,000-word story. The final round begins on May 11th. The finalists will have 24 hours to write a short story of 1,500 words.

The winners will be selected from the final group.

I'm ready!

Possible genres you may be assigned range from Fairy Tale to Mystery to Crime Caper and everything in between.

Last year I did not win this competition. I didn’t even make it into the second round, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world, despite the $55 entry fee.

Why bother with writing competitions?

  • First, there’s nothing like the adrenaline rush when you get your assignment, except maybe the excitement of submitting your story.
  • Second, you’ll either get a genre you’re familiar with, or you won’t. Chances are, your subject and character will be things you would never have thought of.
  • Third, and most important, is the critique you’ll get from the judges. You will find out what the judges liked and what they think needs work. These comments are worth far more than the cost to enter the challenge.

Nice kitty . . . .
Last year I was assigned horror as a genre. I had to write about a bulldozer operator on the set of a television pilot.

I’m not a big fan of horror and know next to nothing about bulldozers, except that sometimes they’re yellow. 

Despite these limitations, I wrote a short story called “Gravel.” It wasn’t my best work, to be honest, but the feedback from the judges will be invaluable when I dust it off someday and resubmit it somewhere else.

There are a bazillion, give or take, writing contests out there. I encourage you to enter one or more this year.


My goal is to enter six competitions in 2018. That's one every other month, totally doable. Wanna join me?

Some other writing contests can be found on these websites:

A Guide to Short Story Contests in 2018 - Aerogramme Writers' Studio
Writing Contests in 2018- Reedsy

As always,  keep track of your submissions! If you don't know how to do that, wait until my next blog post when I'll critique several methods.

And now for this month's tech tip:

Mr. Hanks, actor, author, typist

My new favorite app!  The Hanx Writer!  A fun little app that makes your iPad sound just like an old-fashioned typewriter.  

It was written in collaboration with Tom Hanks, who is not only a wonderful actor but is a typewriter aficionado.  

It makes even a grocery list seem significant!

1 comment:

April Moore said...

Thanks for the motivation, Ronda! I might have to finally give Midnight Ink a try.

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