We been discussing conventions, contests and awards, and being that this blog is basically a writers’ blog, my minds my mind went straight to writer’s conventions, contests and awards.
I have never been to a writer’s convention, at least not yet. I would love to go; one of my favorite writers held a workshop at one last year and made one of her character’s signature smoothies for her attendees, and, I am told, some adult drinks. She’s fun anyway, I can only imagine what a great time I could have had there. Maybe one year…
As for contests, (and awards), the only one I have entered was a lyric contest with a now-defunct big-time one for songwriters: The American Song Festival.(Despite the name, it was international). My sister had entered for years and when we found ourselves bored in Idaho, she talked me into reading a book she had found on how to write songs and then to try my hand. I wrote lyrics to four songs; two are pretty darned good, one is not bad, one is kind of lame, (at least, comparatively),but I copyrighted them as instructed and sent them in. Much to my sister’s shock, I was awarded a ‘Certificate of Merit’; (honorary mention, we concluded). I cannot find the nice, glossy booklet that came with bois of the winners and judges and the list of the rest of us, but if I recall, there were a good number of Dutch and British ‘honorable mentionees’. They addressed the award letter to “Mr.T. Joyce”.Since I had written the songs from a male’s perspective,I took it as an added compliment.
Nothing has been done with the songs I sent in. One day I will do a post on the realities of songwriting. If you think breaking into any other writing field is hard, you have no idea, (nor did I) , about songwriting. It is a very strange world.
[As I re-read this, it looks like I am bragging about the award, but if you look closely, you’ll see the year and know it was a long time ago with not much come from me afterward. I had not even had anything at all published,(except for organizations), for many,many years.]
Once I had tried/failed many times and got an idea of the machinations of the songwriting world, I gave up. I got married, started a family and did all mundane things one needs to do until I got a letter one day from a contest thanking me for my submissions and offering me a discount on a number of books my ‘poetry’ would be included in. Unbeknownst to me, my sister had been fooled into taking the liberty of submitting my work to a phony contest in a vanity press rip-off scam. It took me four tries by mail and finally a phone call with a threat of a copyright violation lawsuit to stop them from including my lyrics in one of their books. They finally got the message, but I could not convince the teenage sister of an in-law who, hungry for attention, spent a lot of her dad’s money on copies of the same sort of book and a convention from the same sort of company, (which is one reasons why self-publishing had such a bad reputation for so long).
I haven’t entered any other contests. One reason is that moneys for contests are better put elsewhere, (like towards grandkids). The fees are usually small, but where does it stop once I start? I’m afraid I be bitten by the gambling bug…(“Oh, just this one and the next. Oh, just one more. I know I’ll win this one!”) I nearly entered my finished play in a regional competition until I saw in the fine print that they wanted young adults in the roles and mine is a three-character play with middle-aged people. Scrap that idea.
I started this last night and as I checked my email, I found that a cousin had sent me information on a no-fee writing contest…I just may have to check it out.
Last year I found my songwriting award which had been tucked away in an unlikely spot; I had not seen it for a long time. I framed and hung it in an inconspicuous place for most people, in my bedroom hallway. But, when I am sitting in my bed reading or writing, I leave the door opened…I see the award, and I smile.