NYC Midnight Contest is over!!! (Round One anyways….)

Take a good look at this amazing picture. No, a closer look.

Okay, okay, it may not look like anything to you, but to me, it is beautiful. Triumphant, even.

Yep, that is a short story. A FINISHED short story. A finished short story that I WROTE.

A finished short story that I wrote in 8 DAYS.

In my last post, I laid out the prompt that my heat was given for the first round of the NYC Midnight short story contest. I wasn’t feeling too confident about my story choice, and I was kinda bummed I hadn’t been more productive.

But dammit, I feel GREAT today. I feel AMAZING because on Saturday, I finished and submitted my 2486 word story. And that was after finishing the rough draft on Wednesday, getting notes from a couple of trusted friends, rethinking my first draft and giving myself some time (and a night of heavy drinking at a friend’s show at the Roxy) to help me get enough distance for a rewrite, and then doing an all out rewrite and polish, allowing myself enough time to turn it in 7 hours early.

So yeah, I feel good. I feel good because this contest forced me to work on something and demand the best for myself. Even though I wasn’t crazy about the concept I came up with, I wanted to make it the best version of that story that I could write, and I actually followed through with it. I especially felt great after looking over the forums on the contest website and seeing how many people waited until the last minute to finish it…..that is usually me!

And thinking about how much I got done in one week makes me see the potential of how much more I could get done if I spent more time knocking out the rough draft of my novel, even if it is just a couple nights a week of 2 hour sessions. It just takes buckling down and not allowing myself to get out of my chair, no matter how much I want to turn on MSNBC or eat some ice cream and Magic Shell.

I don’t find out if I made it to the next round until early March, but to be honest, I don’t expect to. I’ve already gotten so much out of this contest just by accomplishing what I did in a week, and I’m looking forward to the receiving the judges’ feedback.

And in case you were wondering, I did celebrate finishing the story by going out for a drink for my brother’s birthday. And by a drink, I mean a beer tower.

I just decided I love writing contests now.

I’m REALLY excited because I just paid to enter the 2012 Short Story Challenge after a friend of mine told me about it. Basically, it is a writing contest with three rounds. For each one you are given a genre, subject, and character and you have a limited amount of time to write a story using them. For the first round you have 8 days to write a 2,500-words story, and then if you move on to the second round, you have 3 days to write 1,500 words. If you make it to the final round, you only have 24 hours to write a 1,000 word short story and have a stab at the $1,500 grand prize!

But let me clarify: I did not enter this contest to win money. I paid the $49 entry fee and have blocked off those first 8 days for two reasons. First of all, it is a creative challenge with a serious deadline, which is something I haven’t really faced since my college creative writing classes. And secondly (and most importantly), each writer gets in-depth feedback from the judges for every story submitted, which will be amazingly helpful as I try to sharpen my fiction writing skills.

Once I’d paid the entry fee and then felt the rush of excitement about this new challenge, I realized that this would be a great year to start entering writing contests like these. They are a great opportunity to refine my writing ability, and the deadlines are awesome motivators to get my ass down in that chair and write.

So, in typical Lindsay fashion, I found 5 more contests to enter and added them to my calendar. This is what I always do – find a new obsession and throw myself head first over the cliff into it. But since this is a productive one, I’m letting myself take the leap. I might actually get some okay writing done because of it!

I’m excited and ready for the challenge, and I will definitely keep you all updated on how it goes! And if anyone is interested in entering, you should check out their website to learn more. The deadline to enter is January 18th.