Monday, October 6, 2014

How it feels to win a writing contest

This morning I received an announcement for the 10th Annual Contest Results from Black Warrior Review and wondered why I never received a rejection letter. Glad I looked at their list of winners and runners up (whom, of course, they alerted beforehand) because wasn't I surprised by the following:

We are also happy to announce the following finalists for each genre. Thank you all for submitting! This was a year full of amazing work. 

Nonfiction finalists:
Chelsea Clammer
Emily Geminder
Chiori Miya
Caroline Crew
April Freely
Jake Little
Nicole Zimmerman
Helen Degen Cohen
I've submitted this essay to numerous publications, and am still waiting for contest results from three: Bellevue Review, Creative Nonfiction (memoir issue) and The Missouri Review, whose email campaign I must say really worked to inspire submission. In three separate email blasts, they asked prior winners what it meant for them to win writing contests.

Here's an excerpt from a response. I hope it inspires you too to keep reading, writing and sending out your stuff when it's ready, even when you're feeling like there isn't a place for you:

Here’s how our 2013 Editors’ Prize winner in Poetry, writer Kai Carlson-Wee, responded:
“To be honest, when I received the news that I’d won The Missouri Review’s Editors’ Prize, I was in a fairly dark place. I hadn’t been published in over a year and had heard little response from the publishing houses and prizes considering my first book. I was feeling like there wasn’t any place for me in the publishing world and I was starting to question the personal vision I’d worked so hard to create. Of course, this feeling is not unique—many writers feel this way. You get rejected and rejected and rejected and it becomes very difficult not to take it too personally. But then, every once in a while, as if by magic, something clicks, and your work is admired by a sympathetic eye. And you’re invited to a cool Midwestern town to give a reading to a packed house. And you’re welcomed by a group of the most dedicated, gracious, hospitable editors you’ve ever met. And they all say they really love your work (and they mean it). And they put you! up in a swanky hotel for the weekend and treat you like a literary rock-star. And they promote a crazy video project you come up with. And they even give you a generous sum of money so that you can go to Japan and start work on your next book. And in the space of a weekend, the publishing world begins to feel like a world that you can belong to. And the smog of doubt you carried around in your chest for the last long year is—at least temporarily— lifted.”

1 comment:

rosaria williams said...

Congratulations, Nicole. You are generous in your blogs, most inspirational, and truly deserving.

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