Writing: FTW

Writer's BlockWhen I was in college, I had an English professor that for whatever reason took me under her wing. She took me aside many times to talk about my writing. She would fill the margins with things she loved about my word play and made suggestions to make the weak parts stronger. I was asked twice in one semester to read aloud essays I had written.

Then, she encouraged me to submit one for possible publication with the college's literary collection. It was accepted, and I heard rumblings about it across the English department.

The next year I was a student editor for the same publication. I also submitted a short story. Being in that meeting where I am the only one who knows who wrote the story was torture. Only at the time, I didn't realized it, but it was an exercise on taking the criticism and developing a thick skin which I would need later.

The story made it to a second round, but ultimately was declined. A week later, another story I had written, and really didn't like won first place at the state level through another collegiate competition.

So, while in college to earn a degree in Elementary Education, a wanna-be full-time writer was born.

(Technically, born again, but that's another post.)

It has been about four years since that first publication. I had had three others since then, in addition to writing in various places across the web.

I've submitted a few other things -- mostly fiction --  here and there, none of them coming to fruition. About six months ago, I was looking for something to enter and tweeted as such. The fabulous author, Jessica Rosenburg (@kikarose), tweeted back something to the effect of, "Why? Just write your manuscript already." I quit looking for contests and got busy writing (and procrastinating) on a full manuscript.

Just over a month ago, an email hit my inbox, and while I normally don't open any from this particular self-publisher* something grabbed my attention. Long story short, it was a call for submissions for flash fiction in honor of NaNoWriMo. I took me about two weeks, five drafts, and a lot of emails with my writing support group** but I submitted that 600-word-limit at a very slim 589..

And it is now published. You can even have a copy. For free.

"Flash Focus" is different than anything I have ever written. It is absolutely my most favorite story to-date, including the current manuscript. Even if the judges don't award me with a prize, the accolades I've already received will be enough and just the motivation I needed at exactly the right time to keep going.

Although, if I were being completely honest, if they were to contact me letting me know I'd won the $500 and Nook, I wouldn't exactly turn it down.

Updated 12/29: Out of 2,000 + entries, I didn't even make the short list of finalists. Oh well. Can't win them all.

*I was using this specific self-publisher for personal projects. Like writing personalized books for my nieces and nephew. Not self-publishing books I want distributed publically. Not there is anything wrong with self-publishing for that means. I just have a dream of being in Barnes and Noble, Books a Million....

**I am actually in two writing groups -- one online and one locally. I would be lost and extremely lonely without them. I highly recommend being part of a writer's group. 

1 comment:

Lori Helms said...

I've downloaded it, and will give it a read!

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