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Submit your best work to contests

I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I’m lazy. Not lazy in a lay around all day way, but lazy in that sometimes, with my writing, I take the “easy” path without really thinking about what might be the “better” path.

Case in point: After winning first place in the memoir category at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference I had an epiphany—I realized that sometimes when I submit my work to a contest I pick a piece that I feel is finished but I don’t always pick a piece that I think can win.

I mean, I hope the piece could win but I don’t really look at it with a critical eye and ask, “Can this piece actually win—really win—this contest?”

It seems sort of obvious—that I’d want to submit a winning piece (keeping in mind that all contests are very subjective). But sometimes I pick what feels complete, even though it might not be 100% ready to be sent out into the world. When I enter a piece in a contest, I want to take it to the highest level. So, instead of one more rewrite, maybe that means five more rewrites.

My goal for the rest of this year is to only send out work I’ve examined with a critical eye and determined that it’s truly ready to be sent out into the world. Maybe it still won’t be chosen, but I’ll know that I’ve given it every advantage I could.

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