And no, I'm not talking about giving up pop. Though, I did attempt it in 2010. And it did...last about eight days. Yup, one of those resolutions.
Nope, what I'm talking about is my first-ever writing contest.
In 2010, I entered the My Book Therapy Frasier Contest. I'd been working hard on my first novel, Losing Cullaway, ever since attending the MBT Storycrafting Retreat the previous fall. Entering a contest was the next logical step in my whole I-want-to-be-a-writer dream.
But not just any contest. The Frasier stood out to me because it truly was—is—a storycrafting contest, looking at all the must-have elements of good fiction: hook, inciting incident, noble quest, sympathetic characters, etc. Going into it, I knew the perks were plenty:
- The opportunity to take what I've learned through MBT and put my skills to the test? Check.
- The chance to get my writing in front of industry experts? Check.
- Being forced to write a concise synopsis? Eek and check.
- Feedback! Okay, that one doubled as a fear-slash-perk, but I knew I'd benefit. Check.
- The prize possibility—a free MBT retreat. Check.
But perhaps the biggest benefit of all was simply the fact that entering the Frasier Contest pushed me out of my comfort zone. I've written about my Frasier Contest prep before – here and here. You might say I had a slight (okay, mammoth) case of nerves, but I lived. It forced me let go of a story I'd put so much time, effort, heart into...let someone else's eyes consume the product of my passion. For me, not an easy thing to do.
But totally worth it in the end. The judges' feedback was awesome. They didn't simply slap a number on a scoresheet. They explained their scores, pinpointed exactly what they liked about my scene and what I could improve on.
If this sounds like a commercial for the Frasier, that's exactly what it is. I've become a huge believer in feedback from those "in the know" and a contest like the Frasier is one of the best ways to gain that feedback.
So, don't miss out! The 2012 Frasier Contest is open until March 31. All the details are available here. This year's final round judges include award-winning author Susan May Warren; Karen Ball, literary agent with the Steve Laube Agency; and Stephanie Broene, acquisitions editor with Tyndale House Publishing.
Finalists will be recognized in June, and the winner will be announced at the 2012 MBT Pizza Party/Frasier Awards at the annual ACFW Conference in Dallas in September.*
By the way, Frasier chatter will be lighting up the Internet in the month to come! The blog tour continues tomorrow with my friend Beth Vogt, whose debut novel releases from Howard Books in May! And then on Wednesday, 2011 Frasier winner Andrea Nell continues the fun. And, um, can I just say, I could really learn a thing or two about speech-giving from Andrea? :)
Have you ever entered a writing contest? How did it impact your writing? And...will you be entering the 2012 Frasier Contest? Say yes and we can be best buds.
*FYI, planning is already underway for the annual MBT party. Can you say fun? Of course you can...unless you're, like, one. But seriously, it's going to be such. a. blast!