Ramble during office hours: contest writing

Good morning from my *office* on the living room couch. πŸ™‚

I have declared, starting today, that every weekday morning from 9 to 11:30 am are my official office hours.

This will be the designated time I write my words.

Yes, I realize I’m blogging during my office hours at the moment. πŸ™„

In my defense, it’s currently 9:56 am and I’ve already written 630 words (after deleting 238 words) in the past 56 minutes for a story I’m working on which I will submit to a contest.

I have to step away from the story a bit because I kept using the same words over and over again. How many times can you use the word classroom in a paragraph before you go insane?

Work will resume shortly. In the meanwhile, I’m writing different sort of words here for you to read. (You’re welcome.)

Let me update you on my writing progress:

In my Evernote app I have many stories that are of romantic nature, sometimes with some steamy sex thrown in. Some of those were fun to write but remain unpolished and unpublishable. I have had a couple of people read them and some of the feedback included things like “hit me with the drama right up front” or a generic “I like it” which to me means it’s not catchy enough.

You’d think with all the drama in my own life I would have no trouble coming up with story drama for my writing… πŸ™„Β  lol

I know what my weaknesses are. Which is why I need to keep practicing. So I’ll keep working on it.

While I was searching for a suitable contest to participate in (which I found) I came across the program application most places insist writers use to submit work. It’s called Submittable and you have to register an account and cut and paste your work into that application. This is because email attachments often pick up viruses along the way which inevitably will infect computers wherever the attachment is opened in.

So while I was in my Submittable account, I noticed a nice little list of my submitted work. It keeps track of it for me, how nice is that? (I have a spreadsheet where I keep my own notes on my laptop and in my backup system.)

It appears the last time I entered any contest was in 2017. I even got acknowledged for one piece I wrote (but it ended up not making the short list). The acknowledgement however was enough to get my creative juices flowing again and I started writing my story right then and there.

The maximum word count for the contest I’m participating in is 2500 words. I’m going to write my whole piece in Evernote without looking at the word count until the end and then edit it later, after a day or two away. I have until Halloween to submit it so there’s plenty of time to tweak the piece over the next few weeks.

Tell me, have you entered writing contests or participated in story prompts with deadlines? How did you go about those if you have?

22 thoughts on “Ramble during office hours: contest writing

  1. You only have to work 2.5 hours a day?? 😱😱 Living the dream! 😊 I’m an avid short story writer, but I can’t seem to find any contests that would suite my work.. My pieces come in at between 1000 and 3000 words each, and they’re specifically about South Africa. πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡¦ Do you know of any contests I could look into? If not, please have a look at one or two of my tales (when you have a few minutes to spare).. Your professional feedback would mean the world to me! πŸ™πŸ˜…


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t work at the moment, I sometimes do technical writing contract work, or editing. πŸ™‚

      Your pieces sound like flash fiction. Google that, see what you come up with.

      I’ll check out your link a little later today. πŸ™‚


  2. I never have. I’m so happy your doing this! I bet your steamy story is really good. I think when I write things like that I hold back of really putting it on paper even if I’m not comfortable to share it (yet) lol you read some of the things I put up lately if not that’s fine but I use to write that and loved it . It was so freeing if that makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. From a blog only casual writer, it’s really interesting to see what “real” writers got through! I like that you have office hours! I guess you need that kind of discipline when you’re a serious writer. Better than my “nip off to the coffee shop when I have 2 spare hours to write a post” approach! Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You know I love my contests! It’s basically the only way I write anything these days. I require a theme and a due date.

    I just signed up for this one, which is Microfiction writing – just 250 words. They give you a character and a style and you have just a few days to write it. I did the longer version of this back in the spring – it was full short stories for that one – and I loved the thrill of writing to a tight deadline. I also love super short fiction. Maybe you’d like it too?


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lynn! I appreciate it! Yes, I’ll have a look at it. πŸ™‚ Also, I have to go back to your website and do some reading. I read some of your published stories before, I love your style. πŸ™‚


  5. Sometimes those “I like it” comments are just because they aren’t the right audience for your words. It is for this reason that I’m so hyper picky about choosing indie books to read. I need to feel like I’m the right audience for that author to get the right kind of feedback. I have read someone’s writing in the past because I knew the person and agreed, but it was so far outside of my normal reading comfort zone, the “It’s good” was about all I could offer. I honestly didn’t know what to say because I didn’t have any kind of comparison basis for it. I could see the skill and appreciate it to an extent, but even the style didn’t fit with what I normally read and like.

    So, that is just to say that maybe look to a different audience if that is the response you are getting from your current readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this. You have way more experience than I do in these things.

      Have you read my two memoir chapters I posted on the blog? (They’re not long) It’s a memoir even though I wrote it in the 3rd person. If you happen to have some time I’d appreciate your thoughts. I’ve sat on it for years but really need to pick it up again. Many comments were highly encouraging so far…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t yet, but I just added it to my TBR and I’ll try to get them read soon. I’ve never done a memoir, so I’m not certain if I’ll be much help, but I will look at them.

        Not really sure I have experience outside of reading books and mostly complaining about them. πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Submittable is a great app, based in Missoula, Montana, a startup that (apocryphally) originated from U of M MFA students seeing the need for an online submission broker and building it. I

    I’ve used it for a few years, as it is the primary avenue for many literary magazines and journals, and features on the site continue to improve. You might also explore Duotrope for tracking, but they only offer a short free trial, and are not a submission broker.

    Submitting to contests can become expensive, as most charge a fee to submit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did not know this, thank you for educating me.

      And yes, contests charge a fee…lucky for me I haven’t submitted too many over the years. None last year so I think I can afford a few this year, or what’s left of 2019.



    1. I need influx of cash, soon, before we all starve to death. πŸ˜‚

      But in all seriousness, recognition in contests helps with publishing for money elsewhere. It’s all connected.

      This blog is for rambling. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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