Thursday, July 22, 2010

Freelance Writing and Contests

I read a personal opinion somewhere and the author stated that she truly didn't have time for freelance writing jobs or entering contests because it stole focus from her one true love-the novel she was writing and editing. It got me to thinking....

Last year, I started off by taking a class on writing for children and teens through ICL. Awesome course and it completely revived my writing desires. But, it focused on magazine writing or short stories until the end when you decided if you wanted to pursue the novel writing course. This is all fine. They are a reputable school and I enjoyed my experience. But, I wanted to write that novel. I kept itching. And itching. But, I wrote article after short story after article after picture book to picture book *(which is SUPER hard!!). I entered contests galore. Almost every one that I ran across. I never placed or won any competitions I entered. This isn't a big deal, either. Half the time I forgot I entered them! I felt like it was good practice, win or lose.

Then a funny thing happened.....NanoWriMo. I poured all of my energy into a novel and it felt exhilerating! I loved every second of it and soon forgot all about contests and articles for children's magazines. Before I knew it, there was no more market research for magazines, but for an agent instead.

While I still have a ways to go before querying, I have felt that my energy has been better spent. But......

Am I missing out on opportunities? Am I appearing to be a lazy writer? There is another article out there that says; "Write! Write anything for anybody, just write!" I don't know if that applies to me. What about you?


  1. I know what you mean about shorter pieces feeling like a distraction. And they can be. But shorter pieces are easier to publish, and having a publishing history can help you sell that novel one day.

    So, don't toss the short story genre entirely, but perhaps you might want to keep a few ideas in the hopper to work on when the novel isn't flowing. I can tell you that the small victories of publishing in magazines really does boost your confidence and desire to keep writing.

  2. I think each writer's journey is different. Some of my friends love contests, others can't stand the idea of submitting except to be published, others submit to agents while others only submit directly to publishers. Some rewrite something until they think it's perfect (rewriting over and over again based on feedback from contests and/or agents/editors) while others move onto the next project once they've submitted something. Some writers do both short and long others do short or long. I think you need to decide what you want as a writer and put your energy toward achieving those goals.

  3. I like contests but I almost never enter them. I'm afraid of getting too distracted from what I'm working on. God forbid I get another brilliant idea to take me away from my WIP, lol.

  4. I believe you learn by doing. You grow muscles by fighting resistence. But there is only so much free time in the week for me. So I try to focus on my novels. I have three going on at the same time, so I hop from one to the other as the muse hits me. Roland


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