Writing is such a private, personal act, it can often feel thankless. And without thanks, wither motivation?
Recognition is motivating. It provides confirmation from a community that what you’ve produced is technically and aesthetically good, that what you worked so hard to get out of your head moves the human heart.
For two years, I served as the Contests Workgroup Coordinator for the Wisconsin Writers’ Association (WWA). (I resigned at the beginning of 2012 because of my increasing responsibilities as the president of the Association of Personal Historians.)
WWA’s Jade Ring Contests (entries due June 15) include a number of categories, including Fiction (for adults, young adults 12-18, or children); Poetry (formalist or free verse); First Chapters of completed books; Scripts (in stage, screen, or radio format); and of course my favorite, Nonfiction.
Jade Ring Nonfiction contests include categories for Essay (discussion of a subject or issue from a point of view) and Nonfiction Memoir/Reminiscence, defined as writing about self and/or family.
WAA offers these writing contests to encourage members to continually strive to improve their skills, and to provide an opportunity to build writing credentials, which can assist in marketing work to other publishing venues. Winning entries will be published in WWA’s Creative Wisconsin magazine and posted on the WWA website.
Here’s a secret only a past Contest Coordinator would know: There aren’t hundreds of entries in most of these contest categories. Your writing has a strong chance of winning a judge’s approval.
Judging is conducted by qualified individuals prominent in Wisconsin’s professional writing scene. All contest categories are awarded cash prizes: First Place $100; Second Place $ 70; Third Place $ 40. First place winners in the Jade Ring Contests also receive a lovely hand-crafted silver-and-jade ring.
Membership in WWA is required to enter all but the First Chapters and Scripts categories; membership is a phenomenal deal at a mere $35. WWA is a fellowship of amateur and professional writers who support each other with all types of creative writing. It’s been around since its founding in 1948 by Robert Gard. The group’s biannual conferences are also an excellent value.
For more information and entry guidelines, visit WWA’s website. And get those essays ready by June 15.