I must admit I’ve not entered a writing competition since college, it was pretty much the only one I’ve entered. An odd stastic for someone that loves challenges. I managed to come second out of fifty-seven entrants, a laudible achievement I feel.
I don’t know why I don’t enter more, I should do really, but it’s finding the right poetry competitions to enter, then being brave enough.
I did once enter poems on poetry.com, (not sure if it’s the same poetry.com from back then now, I do hope not), and yes I did feel giddy when they started writing to me saying they wanted to publish my poems in an anthology. Even my family were impressed, and wanted copies of the anthology. Being the pessimist it didn’t take me long to check out the company and decide it was a con, that you’d be throwing good money after bad on your route to gaining the mythical anthology, and attending it’s “award ceremonies” in the US. The most telling statistic it was a limited liability company based off shore. Also none of it’s celebrity “sponsors” had even heard of it seemed.
Though I had protected myself and not fallen for it – I did feel sad that it wasn’t real.
It was after that I decided I wanted to help others, I decided to setup a forum at writers-ramblings.com, something I was very proud of, for me it was a success, at it’s peak it had about one hundred registered members, many of whom were active and taking part. It died off after I moved away and didn’t have net effort. It limped on, but eventually I let it go, however I still remember how good that made me feel. When I tried to resurrect it, the domain was no longer available, so I came up with aspiring.org. I never could get a forum setup that made me quite so happy as the first, and eventually I went with a blog, (which of you’re reading.) I hope maybe in some small (even if it’s infintisimal) way this helps the writing world, and a writer or poet or too along the way.
Anyway, running our own forum (with a lot of help from a couple of friends that I have drifted apart from sadly), we ran competitions, there were no prizes, just the warm feeling of having achieved something.
I think the time has come to do something else though and enter a competition or two, and see if I can achieve some luadible again. I’ll never make Poet Laureate if I don’t take risks and let others see what I write.
If I do well, it might give me the confidence to both finish a piece of writing (as in finish writing, revise, rewrite, etic…), and attempt to get it published.
It isn’t fear of being conned that stops me, it is the fear of having my hopes dashed, that is what poetry.com did, yet the college competition put me on cloud nine. Two heads of the same coin we call risk. However if I want to advance myself as a poet, to make my poetry mean something beyond myself, I think it’s a step I need to make.
So having said all that, and concluded I need to do it, now I just have to act. I need to find some poetry competitions, and start writing.
It would probably be helpful to specialise, but I’m a bit of a Jack of All Trades when it comes to poetry. That said my personal favourite (but probably what I’m worse at) are sonnets – so just up the ante on myself, that should get me going.
I can do this, I think.