Welcome to week 12 of the MFRW blog hop.
This week’s prompt: My contest experience: Win Lose or draw!
How far back do you want to go? Hmmm . . .
In Junior High, there were essay contests. I won 2nd place in our 8th-grade competition out of 120 students. I think I won a gift certificate to Spinning Wheels for a season pass. Disco Skating was all the rage and the roller rink was where the in-crowd hung out. It was an essay about exploring, modern-day Tom Sawyer girl scout entrepreneurial adventure! I reread that about a year ago as I was clearing out some of the junk, and tossed it. It would make you shudder to see the poor grammar. In a way, it brought a smile to my face as I was obviously very naive, had an idealistic view of the world, with childish expectations. Remind me again, why were we in such a hurry to grow up???
In my high school days, I took the obligatory English Composition but then took 2 creative writing classes. I loved those classes. The teacher, a 5-foot tall lady named Mrs. White, who was married to the girls’ basketball coach – obviously Mr. White who was 6′ 6″. They were quite a pair! Anyway, Mrs. White encouraged me to submit a couple of my short essays to competitions in the region. I got an honorable mention in a competition hosted at Lindenwood College. It was a humorous piece, but I don’t have a copy of it anymore.
My passion for writing continued to a degree, I wrote several more short essays between 1000 and 5000 words. Most of which didn’t even get honorable mentions. During my college years, who has time to write for fun??? I wrote term papers, assigned reports, and other miscellaneous papers that were required for my classes. I usually got A’s on my term papers.
One mention here, I wrote a report on the Battle of Antietam for a US History class. I got an A on the paper, but the instructor wrote a note on the side that it wasn’t necessary to be quite so graphically descriptive in my report, that it nearly made him sick reading my descriptives. The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. It isn’t my fault that he assigned that one to me. I wasn’t about to copy verbatim the research I read before writing my version. It isn’t my fault that the weaponry of the day didn’t kill a man with one shot. At least it wasn’t a medieval battle with broadswords and hatchets. The fact that he could connect to the horrors of battle as described in my paper means that I nailed that scene, right?
Then the years went by while working for the defense department, working in the corporate world, raising my children and there wasn’t any time for writing or pursuing my writing dreams. Once my kids were in school, I had a little more time that I could put my thoughts down and started entering contests again. I sent in a few submissions to Writer’s Digest contests and other contests. I had a few responses but few wins. Then I entered a competition for the opinion column and won. It was a rotating position with 3 others and mine got a LOT of feedback. That was really the turning point when I started putting more efforts into my writing whether it’s fiction or humor.
It’s been a long bumpy road for me from those early efforts to now. If I had it to do over I may make some changes but since I don’t, these are life lessons along my highway. Live, Learn, do better!
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Write on my friends, write on!