I’m a winner! And I’m super excited to finally share my exciting news with you. For the past 10 years the Florida Writers Association, (FWA) has hosted a writing competition open to its members. Every year there’s a new thoughtful prompt, to give the participating writers inspiration. This year’s prompt was, where does your muse live? This year, entries could be original, recent works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry.
Writing competitions always stir a feeling of excitement in me. I imagine being the winning entry and having people I don’t know reading my extremely clever prose and being moved to think about ordinary things in new ways. Or maybe my work simply entertains and it takes them on a brief journey to an enchanted place. That’s okay too.
At the beginning of this year I set a goal for myself to submit creative writing to competitions, magazines or online publications, at least once a month. Well, I didn’t meet my goal. But I did submit to two places. (I’m not including the tutorials I had published in glass related publications because they’re not new markets.)
I received a rejection for a short, psychological thriller I wrote. My usual topics of choice are educational and inspiring. This was the first time I tried to write something dark and twisted. Truth is, it was hard. But it was also fun to explore and unravel the shady side of morally shattered characters.
It’s disappointing to admit to not having submitted as many stories as I would have liked this year. But then I thought, it’s two more than I submitted the previous year. And although I didn’t send work out, I did produce a lot of creative writing this year. My many stories are in different states of completion. But through the constant exercise of writing, I’m gaining proficiency and confidence. And best of all, I truly like the energy in each one of my stories.
The more I thought about it, I compared my creative writing to my walking. About 15 years ago I decided to walk for exercise. It’s a great workout you can do at every age your entire life, and wherever you are. Plus, I love being outside enjoying nature, so it’s a win, win. I call myself a walker. I make an effort to walk five times or more a week. There are times when I don’t make that number. Sometimes, I have long stretches of inactivity. But in my mind, I’m committed and will get back to walking when I can. That’s how I feel about writing. I’m a writer. I write. Though I may not have achieved my set goal, I’m committed, and I’ll keep trying to do better.
I found the FWA contest prompt intriguing. As an artist and writer, I wondered, where does my muse live? For a few months I played around with different ways to approach the topic. I don’t know anything about poetry, but for some unknown reason it seemed a logical way to write about my muse. I wrote a poem. It took several awkward forms before being completed. Several supportive people read my work in progress. Their well appreciated and valuable input helped make it better, and more colorful. Eventually, I had a page full of words that spoke honestly of my creative essence. I submitted my poem and am happy to announce that it was selected for this year’s FWA anthology. It’s the second time I’ve had this thrill as another one of my short stories is in the fourth FWA collection titled, My Wheels. The new book, Where Does Your Muse Live, will be released at the end of this month.
I submitted to two new creative writing venues so far this year. Both entries were written in genres I had no experience in, and I had no reason to expect them to be accepted. One was rejected but with editing, it has potential for publication elsewhere. My second entry was accepted and will be published alongside the work of other talented writers. It’s a small step toward my big dream. It’s an honor to be included in the FWA collection. But the biggest thrill is being validated. My efforts are producing work that other writers and readers appreciate. In the end, I’m batting 50%. That’s not too bad for a rookie.
Small steps forward are better than standing still. Chase your dreams. Get moving!
All the best,