January 19, 2011

To Contest Or Not To Contest

I recieved a nice little form letter from a literary journal. They encouraged me to enter their annual fiction contest. Four years ago I sent my story "Summer Sublet" to the Eden Mills Writers Festival. This was my first submission ever, to anything. I call it my "masturbation story" and don't know why I thought it stood a chance. Greener than green created bravado, I guess. The funny thing is it went on to be my first published story a year later.

After reading Matthew Firth's: No More Prizes, No More Contests! a couple years back I stopped entering. I wouldn't mind a bit of money, sure, but most of my stories are not the canlit pablum for the masses that often wins. The aforementioned journal also wants $40 to enter, albeit with a free subscription. I could go from a struggling to starving writer in no time.

I thought about entering the Writers' Union Postcard Contest, 5$ fee, not bad. I took a 600 worder and whittled it to 250. In the end, I didn't like the shorter version so much. Also, the WUoC are hosting a symposium about the changing literary landscape. I thought cool, but they only accept payment through VISA. What if you've never owned a credit card? So no, I don't think I will enter their contest or attend their lecture.

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