Howdy! So for my first post, I decided to talk about the writing contest that is going to get me published. To be honest, before I entered this contest the thought of letting someone read my work terrified me because the thought of being judged is scary! I had been writing for about a year and a half (now two and a half) and I had an idea for a story. I wanted to write the story of two kids growing up as best friends, only for one to be lost somehow, but I just didn’t really know how. The idea of cancer, drugs, suicide, and every other way possible to die tumbled around in my mind for a couple days, before it hit me.
A car accident. So twelve year old me grabbed my laptop, opened a new google doc, and began writing. The story started with the words “The story gets harder with every word I type.” and I decided the story would be almost like a diary. So I wrote and wrote and I hit 1,000 words at the end of the story. 1,000 words is not a lot of words, but it normally takes me about an hour to write that many. I was impressed with myself that I was able to write it in only about thirty minutes and that I was able to convey such emotions.
The story ended up being a texting and driving PSA type story. I sent it off to my two friends, and in under ten minutes, they had both responded. One said she was almost crying, and the other said she was sobbing. I was amazed. I had conveyed that much emotion? After that I let the story sit, and I didn’t even think about it until I saw a writing contest on Facebook. There were two categories, 18 and over, and 17 and under. There was even a $500 1st place price! I told my mom about it (who had been nagging me to enter a contest for months) and I started thinking about which story I should submit. The story I had written months ago crossed my mind, but I knew it was some older writing. I couldn’t come up with any other ideas, so I decided to just rewrite it.
As I was writing it, I noticed it was actually worse than the older version!
I was confused. I knew my writing had gotten better and I was sure I was going to be able to rewrite it much better, but it just wasn’t working. I reviewed the older version, fixed minor grammatical errors, and decided to just submit that to the contest. It’s not like I was going to win anyways. I told my mom and she read the story, told me it was good, and helped me submit it.
It took months to hear anything back. So long that I thought I had just lost and they didn’t even think to tell me anything. I was losing hope in the contest. I went to a birthday party one day, and I felt my phone buzz on the way home. I rolled my eyes, thinking it was just my friend spamming me again on Google Hangouts. I saw on the home screen of my phone that it was not a Hangouts message, but an email.
It said, “You’ve gotten fourth place in The Brave Enough To Write contest!” I was in shock. I gulped and opened the email, and the subject said I had gotten second place. Confused, I told my mom. She was so happy for me, but I was just concerned that they had messed up, so my mom emailed the director of the company and asked. He got back quickly and said I had gotten second, just like it said on the subject of the email and on their website!
I was so happy and couldn’t stop smiling, and that was even before I learned that my story was going to be published in a book with all the other winners and runner-ups! I’ll admit I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get that $500, but still super happy! The winner in my category was 17 (the highest age you could be for the category) and an editor for a teen magazine, so I thought I did pretty good against the competition! Plus the word count cut off was 10,000 and I got second with this little 1,000-word story! The director said he thought I was going to win and I almost cried of happiness.
We went out for dinner that night to celebrate, and I was so happy. If you had told me one year ago that I would have gotten published using this little 1,000-word story about texting and driving I wrote when I was twelve, I would have laughed and probably made a sarcastic joke (probably still would now honestly).
That was the story of how this story I wrote when I was twelve ended up being my first story that’s going to be published! Stay tuned for more news on that!
(P.S if you’re about to get published and they ask for info about you and a headshot, an iPhone photo taken on your mom’s phone in front of a Chipotle totally works)
Website the contest was on: http://www.braveenoughtofail.org/
Where it says I got second: https://braveenoughtofail.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/ladies-sweep-brave-enough-to-write-contest/