Category Archives: writing contest with cash prizes

WHEN TO PLANT…AND WHEN TO WRITE FOR A CONTEST

The FARMER'S ALMANAC is full of interesting information. (All photographs by Marylin Warner)

The FARMER’S ALMANAC is full of interesting information. (All photographs by Marylin Warner)

Colorado weather makes it a good idea to wait until after Mother's Day to plant.

Colorado weather makes it a good idea to wait until after Mother’s Day to plant.

 

If you get impatient for color, you can hand baskets of artificial flowers in your trees.

If you get impatient for color, you can hang baskets of artificial flowers in your trees.

When you spend several days sitting in a hospital room, you look for interesting reading material. I found the 2014 OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC. Talk about an education!

If you’re interested in the weather forecasts for 16 regions of the United States (with apologies to our non-American friends), or information about the sun, moon, stars, and planets, or articles on beeswax candles and natural pest control, The Almanac is your go-to publication.

Here’s some quaint gardening advice reprinted from 1892 folklore.

1)    To make a plant grow, spit into the hole you have dug for it.

2)    Never plant anything on the 31st of any month.

3)    Plant corn after the first woodpecker appears.

4)    Flax will grow tall if you show it your buttocks.

5)    It’s time to plant corn when your wife comes to bed naked.

At our Colorado Springs altitude of 6,100 feet, it’s risky to plant anything before Mother’s Day…even if you show the crop your buttocks or come to bed naked. If you decide you’d rather go fishing, here’s how to know if it’s a good time: watch cows. If they’re up feeding, fishing is good. If they’re down resting, don’t bother.

If the folklore printed in the Almanac isn’t strange enough for you, maybe this writing contest will do the trick. THE WRITER MAGAZINE and Gotham Writers Workshops are sponsoring a “Tell It Strange” Essay & Story Contest.

Annie Proulx won the Pulitzer Prize for THE SHIPPING NEWS, and wrote other highly successful novels, including CLOSE RANGE and BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. Writers should respond to one of Proulx’s quotes, using it as a prompt to get you motivated.

“We’re all strange inside. We learn how to disguise our differences as we grow up.” ~ this is from THE SHIPPING NEWS.   “There’s something wrong with everybody and it’s up to you to know what you can handle.” is from CLOSE RANGE.

If either of these prompts inspires a strange story or essay idea, the contest deadline is May 31, 2014. Prizes are $1,000, $500, $250. You can submit online, and WRITERS FROM EVERYWHERE are invited to submit, as long as you’re not affiliates of THE WRITER or GOTHAM WRITERS. 1,000 words max.   For full details go to

http://www.writingclasses.com/ContestPages/strange.php

Spitting in holes might be great planting practice. Writing contests are definitely great writing practice. You can enter the contest; you can write for the contest but instead of entering it, submit it to an anthology, a magazine, an online publication. Making yourself think, plan, write, edit and meet the deadline is excellent writing discipline. Can’t think of a “strange” writing idea? Really? Go back and read #4 and #5 above. Or just pay attention to what’s going on around you. The world is strange enough to give you plenty of writing ideas.

Cover of my favorite writing journal.

Cover of my favorite writing journal.

Write on a computer, on a tablet, on a typewriter...but write!

Write on a computer, on a tablet, on a typewriter…but write!

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Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, gardening, writing, writing contest with cash prizes

Lemons, Lessons, and a Great Writing Opportunity

Dear Mom,

I remember when we found a contest looking for true articles from people who had who faced difficult or even heartbreaking situations but somehow found the silver lining in the cloud.  They went on to make something good of the experience, and the publisher wanted to read their stories.

We both decided to try writing for the contest, but the deadline was only a few weeks away and we got sidetracked. Our best ideas actually came AFTER the deadline. We kept saying, “We should have…” and “If only we had more time…”

That was years ago when you were still actively writing. Now The Chicken Soup for the Soul series books are inviting very similar stories, but their deadline is more than 3 months away!!! That’s plenty of time to ponder ideas, write, edit and rewrite, and submit.  So, in honor of the contest you and I wanted to enter but didn’t, let’s post this terrific opportunity for all our writing friends, okay?

Okay!  Here are all the details:

Chicken Soup for the Soul:  From Lemons to Lemonade
“When life hands you lemons… make lemonade!” And don’t just make lemonade but squeeze out every last drop of juice from that sour lemon to make the sweetest lemonade possible. We are looking for true stories that show how you made the best of a challenging situation and turned it into something positive. Tell us your success stories and how you made them happen.
Here are examples of the kinds of “lemons to lemonade” stories we are imagining:
  • You got fired/laid off and discovered a new better career
  • You prevailed over an illness or medical condition and found a wonderful silver lining
  • You overcame an addiction and found new purpose
  • You lost all your money and possessions and discovered new happiness with your family
  • You went through a difficult time with your child but came out with a better relationship
  • You lost a loved one and created a non-profit that is saving lives so other people don’t go through the same loss
Please remember, we do not like “as told to” stories. Please write in the first person about yourself or someone close to you. If you ghostwrite a story for someone else we will list his or her name as the author. If a story was previously published, we will probably not use it unless it ran in a small circulation venue. Let us know where the story was previously published in the “Comments” section of the submission form. If the story was published in a past Chicken Soup for the Soul book, please do not submit it.
If your story or poem is chosen, you will be a published author and your bio will be printed in the book if you so choose. You will also receive a check for $200 and 10 free copies of your book, worth more than $100. You will retain the copyright for your story and you will retain the right to resell it.
SUBMISSIONS GO TO http://chickensoup.com
Select the Submit Your Story link on the left tool bar and follow the directions.
The deadline date for story and poem submissions is February 28, 2013. 

There are many kinds of chicken soup and MANY challenging experiences and touching or surprising lessons that all of us could write about. Try this, writers!
(All photography by Marylin Warner.)

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Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for great-grandchildren, writing, writing contest with cash prizes, writing exercises

GOT REGRETS? GRAB A PEN!

 

 

 

 

 

All of us have days we’d like to relive, things we wish we’d done differently, mistakes we wish we could correct, different roads we wish we’d taken, or promises we wish we’d kept…or never made.

We ALL have regrets.

 The Fifth Annual Life Lessons Essay Contest welcomes your story. Write about a decision you regret—anything from a poor choice you made in high school to a serious lapse in judgment with major consequences as an adult—and then write about what the mistake taught you about yourself.

(I’m sharing this writing contest in honor of my mom. Before dementia and age stopped her writing, she and I challenged each other to enter writing contests. We each had to at least TRY…or buy the other one lunch.)  Here’s an idea: ask family, friends, other writers and bloggers to join your challenge!

This contest is a great writing opportunity. The winning essay will be published in REAL SIMPLE, and the writer will receive a prize of $3,000, plus round-trip tickets for two to New York City, hotel accommodations for two nights, tickets to a Broadway play, and lunch with the editors.

 2nd place receives $500.  3rd place receives $250.

 Length: 1,500 words max        THERE IS NO ENTRY FEE

 Deadline is 11:50 P.M. ET  ~  September 13, 2012

 Submit via e-mail or US mail. Full details, examples, answered questions & helpful hints at

http://search.realsimple.com/results.html?type=&Ntt=Life+lessons+essay+contest&hdr_search_btn.x=19&hdr_search_btn.y=6

Come on, what have you got to lose? Rise to the occasion & take the challenge…double-dog dare ya!

DO NOT LET THIS MISSED OPPORTUNITY

BECOME ANOTHER REGRET

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Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, making a difference, writing, writing contest with cash prizes

AND THE WINNERS ARE… (drumroll, please…)

As always, I was touched and inspired by the contest entries. For anyone interested in writing and submitting greeting card verse ideas for placement within the industry, check out the Greeting Card Association website, http://www.greetingcard.org, for valuable tips and information. Also, the 2012 Writers Market lists nineteen card companies willing to work with freelancers and lists the websites, contact names, addresses, needs, pay rates, etc. for each company.

Special thanks go to the judges, all of whom are trusted writer friends who genuinely care about helping other writers. The judges give their time and energy to this contest for very low pay–I buy them breakfast when we meet to add up the scores–and though we have a good time arguing and even coming up with a few of our own off-the-cuff cards, I’m still very grateful. Writing is hard work. Giving up some of their own writing time to judge is a gift.

Just a note about the point system. You will see that SECOND PlACE has a three-way tie, and the JUDGES’ SPECIAL AWARD has a tie. I know that some contests bring in a new judge as a tiebreaker, and I also know that sometimes the decision comes down to a coin toss. Neither way is what my mother would do, and I don’t play that way, either. When there are same-point ties, both/all of the entries with that score receive the full prize. To read all the entries in the contest, return to the COMMENT boxes connected to “New Contest! Write a Greeting Card for Mother’s Day” and “One Week to Deadline”

_______________________________________________________________

FIRST PLACE: “Being In The Middle” by Cinamyn ($25.00)

Judge’s comment: “…it was the vividly described pictures that got to me, illustrating the authenic theme that those who think they’re average are actually very special…one in a million…and so are their mothers!”

(Front cover–4 sections)

I may not be the prettiest (picture of 3 girls standing, as if winning a beauty contest–our girl, the fourth, is behind them, waving from behind)

Or the best to drive a car. (our girl in a car crashed into a mailbox)

I may not be the fastest (our girl standing with her hand shielding the sun from her eyes and several runners in the distance)

Or the smartest one by far. (our girl holding up a paper marked with a B)

(Inside)

Being in the middle is the hardest place to be. (our girl standing in the middle of a crowd)

But you always made me feel special by saying, “You’re one in a million to me!” (our girl and mother hugging in the middle of the crowd, highlighted)

I couldn’t have asked for a better Mom. You’re one in a million!

Happy Mother’d day!

________________________________________________________________

SECOND PLACE (Three-Way TIE; Each writer receives $15.00):

Judges’ comments:

-for Sarah’s “The Best Mom for my Grandson”–“I loved that this card used a different name than Grandma, yet all grandparents can relate to it…Nana’s pride and love are so obvious…”

- for Luola’s “Single Mom”–”As a single mother, I hope my son always knows how much I struggle, care, sacrifice and give…and how very much I love him. Luola’s card hit the nail on the head about what it is to be a single mom.”

- for Margaret C’s “Where Babies Come From”–”Any woman who has adopted a baby, or any child who was adopted, will cherish this brief, wise, heartfelt card. The rest of us look on, reading the message, and applauding this loving tribute.”

“The Best Mom For My Grandson” by Sarah

(Cover Art: A young lady standing alone)

Cover Message:

You told me you were pregnant!

My heart, it skipped a beat!

Then I started crying from

The joy within my heart!

(Inside Art: A young mom, a little boy, and a Nana)

Inside Message:

You are the best mom for my grandson.

I couldn’t be more proud.

I am proud to be your mom,

Proud to be his Nana.

~     ~     ~

“Single Mom” by Luola

For all your struggles & all your care

For letting me know you would always be there

For the sacrifices you made & all the sleepless nights

For the hugs & kisses to say it will be all right

You’ve given so much, what a great price to pay

So for you I will make every day Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s Day! I love you, Mommy!

~     ~     ~

“Where Babies Come From” by Margaret C.

(Cover art) Two Women. One is pregnant. The other wears a Big Red Heart.

(Cover message)  YOU TAUGHT ME THE BEST LESSON, MOM: SOME BABIES

COME FROM BIG TUMMIES. OTHER BABIES COME FROM BIG HEARTS.

(Inside message)  THANKS FOR ADOPTING ME, MOM.

________________________________________________________________

JUDGES’ SPECIAL AWARDS: (Tie; Each writer receives $10.00)

The Special Awards are for entries that one or more of the judges felt had an extra special quality. For Cassandra’s “Mother Mine,” two of the judges applauded the rich imagery: reading stories under a steam tent; standing in line to buy a young girl roller skates when metal was scarce during the war, etc.  For Sam’s “Mom, My Wife Thanks You,” one judge laughed out loud, saying every man would get it, and there’s a shortage of funny greeting cards for men to send to their moms at Mother’s Day.”

“Mother Mine” by Cassandra

My mother, pretty,

Vivacious, smiley, always

Steadfast in support.

She read me dog stories

Under a steam tent when the

Measles would not break out.

She stood four hours in

Line to secure roller skates

When metal was for war.

She heard hours of teen

Drama, always on my side.

She saw the humor.

She was a mirror

Guiding me to find myself.

We were so much alike.

She’s gone to a better

World now. I miss most our

Long walking talks.

____________________________________________

“Mom, My Wife Thanks You” by Sam

(Cover Art) An odd looking couple holding out a nicely wrapped present.

(Cover Message) Mom, my wife thanks you for teaching me these

three things:

1. Never hit girls

2. Always put down the lid

3. Never forget where you came from…

(Inside Message)    Eeeeeeewwwwww.

Thanks Mom. Happy Mother’s Day

____________________________________________

And so, dear readers of this blog, another writing contest in honor of Mary Elizabeth Shepherd’s writing talents has come to an end. I close with this Mother’s Day quote:

From the popular long-running TV sitcom, The Golden Girls, comes this sensitive, thoughtful nugget:  “It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.”

_____________________________________________

To paraphrase FORREST GUMP, I hope this Mother’s Day was like a box of Chocolate-covered Strawberries. Yum!

(With special thanks to Molly,Trevor,Grace and Gannon for the delicious gift!)

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Filed under Contest winners, Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, writing, writing contest with cash prizes