Well, the Flash Fiction contest is over for me – I did not make the semi-finals. So I’m cheering from the sidelines, and working on revising instead of writing. Will definitely sign up for the Short Story contest (probably in January) when that starts up. Might even try the Screenplay contest (just for fun!!) that starts this week.
So, was it worth it? Absolutely. The first contest I ever did was last year’s Short Story contest, and between that first push on the submit button and today, I see a huge leap in my understanding about fiction writing craft. I taught grammar & non-fiction writing for many years. I knew I needed a different skill set to write fiction, so took my share of fiction writing classes. Yet re-creating myself as a fiction writer has been difficult and slow. The experiences I’ve had with these contests gave me a much needed push and accelerated that re-creation process.
Between NYC Midnight and my new flash-fiction writing group, I’m actually proud of my work now and can look at it with some perspective. I’m not afraid to show something written quickly with errors. I’m learning to look for that hidden gem in drafts (mine and others!). I’m learning to relax about finding some unique plot (not possible!), and focus on narrative arc, character development and setting.