The momentum I built up last week did well to serve me this week, especially since I woke up a few mornings feeling entirely awful and plagued with migraine headaches. Despite these ailments, I still trudged on, though admittedly not at an early enough hour like I hoped. I’m very proud with myself that I’ve kept up with my daily flash fiction posts on Twitter and have also done a few more page edits on my novel, My Personable Demon.
Now, one of the downsides of being a “starving-artist” is that you’re pretty much piss-poor. Until I find some more patrons or find a publisher for my book, I have to find a way to make money with my writing. That said, I did some searching on Tuesday for writing grants and contests.
Poets & Writers is a wonderful source for both and then some. Surprisingly, there were a few short-story contests whose submission deadlines were yesterday. I settled on entering 3 of the contests, as each one averaged a $30 entry fee, and I also scrupulously made sure my submitted manuscripts met their criteria for submission.
Most contests ask for things like page numbers to be included and your name NOT to be included anywhere in your manuscripts, but some also have extra criteria to follow: a maximum and/or minimum word count for short stories; a cover page; miscellaneous document formatting; etc. One of the contests even stated that if the short stories were less than 1,500 words, I could submit up to three as one entry, as long as each one was under the specified word amount. From there, they would judge each separately. This is why you have to be very carefully with understanding everything a contest asks for. If the judges see at least one of asked criteria isn’t met, even if you’re story reads like Hemingway, you’ll be disqualified. Take the time and read the rules. Wouldn’t you kick yourself if you found your work was refused due to not double spacing? Worst yet, you’re out the $30 dollars.
Of course, just because I entered three contests doesn’t mean I’m a sure winner. One of the contests proudly announced that they were up to 691 entries so far. With those numbers, my odds are fairly-slim. But, how else will you know if you’re going to win if you’re not willing to play? That’s what writing for a living ultimately hinges on. When you’re trying to sell your book to publishers or your short story to a magazine, there’s always going to be the chance that you’ll get rejected. More often than not, you will get rejected. Better yet, entering contests help to keep your writing skills sharp, as they motivate you to create more fresh work.
In my opinion, it’s those that continue to submit their work, both learning from the rejections and refuse to stop that will ultimately win out.