CONTEST OPPORTUNITY: Why do you write?

Do you know why you write? Can you put it into words? Will that make a compelling essay? Do you ever enter contests?

Well . . . if you just yelped “Yes!” four times, come join me in entering the essay contest that Smashwords and Maria Schneider are sponsoring. It might be interesting to see all the reasons people give for writing. I’m working on an entry in the background, behind the NaNo writing and the “getting the heater fixed” real-life activity.

I used to be able to win contests all the time. Heck, sometimes I still can–I became a finalist in the Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper Contest last year on the strength of my essay. But the judges are getting younger, and their worldview is different, and they value different things when reading. So who knows? I’ll still have an interesting essay when I’m done.

Speaking of the Scotch Brand contest–a finalist in this year’s contest sought me out to see if I had any suggestions for her! I thought it was so cool and flattering that she found me on the Web. There are still several articles online (archived) on the Dallas News and Denton newspaper sites that feature my little foray up into Yankeeland, and there’s a cute mention on the D Magazine site (an admirer says he agrees with my evaluation of NYC as “it’s like Texas-OU weekend if both sides lost and they ran out of beer.”) I had some advice for her, though I don’t know how much it helped. Mostly, my advice is to consider the trip your prize, and anything else gravy. The experience is the prize here. “The journey is the reward.” She’s a professional gift wrapper, so she has a real chance! Would it not be COOL if she won?! I would sort of feel as if I won along with her! (Irrational as that may seem.) She has published a book and puts out a video all about wrapping. We both like to make packages look like something else. How weird is that? Pretty dang weird, as is the contest itself. People always did double-takes when I explained why we were in NYC or why we had gone. “A contest for wrapping presents?” Well, why not?

I was a bit concerned that 3M wouldn’t want to sponsor it again this year. But yay! They did!

Wish I could be there. Y’know . . . there’s nothin’ like the place. God help me, I love New York. *ducking tomatoes* Yes, yes, I still love California best, and Texas as well. And the top of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. But the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd on Broadway–it’s magical. Especially around Christmastime. Did you realize they’ve changed the route of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year? I’ll bet they’re already working on setting up the floats. I would LOVE to be there looking down on the preparation from a hotel window. Man!


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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