I’ve been working over the past several weeks on a story that I had planned to submit for a local creative writing contest. Today I went through it one more time for what I swore to myself would be the FINAL EDIT. After putting the finishing touches on it, I went to the site for the contest to make sure of the formatting guidelines and all that good stuff.
I say that I had planned on submitting because due to a guideline that I missed on my first go-round I am ineligible for the contest. Turns out the contest has a “no professionals” rule–which is fine. I hardly consider myself a professional writer at this point. However, there was a footnote I had missed on my previous reading that explained that by professional they mean anyone who has ever been published.
I had participated in this contest before. I even won third prize in the short story category. Before that entry I had been published in library science journals and had written book reviews for Library Journal. This was all unpaid “prestige” work. At that point, I had asked the powers-that-be of the contest and was assured that those works did not disqualify me. This was two years ago.
Since that time, I have had two articles published in a gaming magazine. This was professional, paid work (I made a total of about $75). So, I’m out of the running this year.
In a way, I’m mighty disappointed but understand that the point of the contest is to showcase amateurs. I certainly don’t begrudge the contest in any way. In fact, if you haven’t already been published and want to give a shot, check this link. I just feel that as a writer I’m currently more in the amateur camp than in the professional. I’m looking through the gym windows at the school dance but I lost my ticket. So it goes.
I now have this little story that I am still quite proud of. Maybe I’ll shop it around and see if I can make some that professional cash off of it. If not, maybe I’ll share it here. Closed doors can sometimes open other opportunities.