There was a time when I thought I was a pretty good writer. That was back in high school, when the batch population numbered only a few hundreds.
When I entered college, one of my friends (whom I knew could write well) was required to take basic English classes. I wasn’t required to do the same, so I thought I was doing okay.
Almost all my papers in my English classes came back with so much red or green marks, depending on what ink my English professor used. Prior to this, I don’t think I had seen that many colored marks, circles, arrows on any of my school papers. But by then I already knew I wasn’t a very good writer . . . and I was so far from being among the best.
By the time I joined the workforce, gosh, I was just a normal kid. Among creatives, among more experienced writers and researchers, I was below average.
I’ve been failing so much since then. Despite those heartbreaks, I just can’t stop typing away.
Because there is something about writing.
. . . that feels liberating.
. . . that brings joy.
. . . that makes me feel alive.
I have read and reviewed some good manuscripts, but I have also seen some that took much time to edit. But even the not-so-well-written manuscripts had something in them. I could sense the writer’s joy and the personality she was trying to give to, or express in, her work. There were also very practical and helpful messages the authors wanted to share to the youth about businesses. As my friend had put it, these people have brilliant ideas; they just need help putting their ideas on paper. It would be our loss as a society if these lessons never get shared.
So a toast to us who have struggled as writers, but have not stopped writing because creating makes us happy. Let’s just keep moving forward. We, too, have ideas we can share to make someone’s life even just a bit better.
When I was down in the dumps, one thing that got me to write again (and be at it for hours or days) were writing contests. Winning would be lovely (of course!) but my priority was getting my work out there. And as I kept writing, I felt my joy growing, and my love for writing flooding back. Ideas pour in too—while I’m at the grocery, or washing my clothes, or eating . . . .
I’d like to share with you this list of FREE fiction and nonfiction writing contests with cash prizes, posted by Kelly Gurnett at The Write Life.
For those in the Philippines, there are also contests in the list above which you can join. You can also submit your work to some local competitions. Or you can write for periodicals. A few such opportunities are listed below.
- Short+Sweet is accepting script submissions until 31 May. The form is available here.
- The 1st Lampara Young Adult Story Writing Contest, sponsored by Lampara Publishing House, is accepting entries until July 14, 2017. The details and forms are available here.
- The Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards seems to be the most prestigious writing competition in the country. The deadline was last April, but you can add this to your list for next year.
- The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY), Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), and The National Library of the Philippines (NLP) sponsor the Salanga Prize. Entry submission closed last December 2016. But start writing that story . . . and you’d be ready when the 2018 Salanga Prize starts accepting entries in the latter part of this year 🙂
- The Philippine Daily Inquirer accepts contributions from young writers. (I know there’s an age limit.) The article should not have been published prior to submission. Selected articles appear on PDI’s Youngblood section.
There are also a lot of articles on self-publishing. I will update this list as I come across new information on writing contests here and abroad.
For now, I’d like to close this post with this quote: