I had my doubts. Was I out of my depth? Was my story interesting? Was it worth spending $25 apiece on a dream?
I decided to take the plunge. Swim with the big fish and enter the CBC Nonfiction Contest. I chose to polish up not one, but two stories from years ago. Isn’t it curious how you can review previous writing and improve it? Find mistakes, too!
I struggled to keep my head above water while I searched for grammatical and spelling errors. Did I have the correct spelling? The Canadian Gage dictionary spells a word as “room-mate” but Word spells it as “roommate.” I worried the judges would be annoyed to see a word written incorrectly four times in one short story. No more treading water! I dove in and submitted both stories.
Then I went swimming for stress relief. Splash! A senior with a weak arm slapped the water as he swam front crawl. Tiny bubbles trailed from a woman, recovering from a car accident, who paddled on a flutter-board. Whoosh! Waves engulfed me as a triathlete performed the butterfly stroke powerfully.
A retired schoolteacher, wearing permanent makeup, complained loudly so her words wouldn’t be drowned out. She was irritated that weak swimmers were in her “fast” line instead of the lane with the “slow” sign. I shrugged my shoulders, joked that I wasn’t sure how I felt about being labelled “slow” and took off in the slow lane.
I wanted to tell her we all paid the same admission fee and were entitled to swim. We swam in the same pool for different reasons. Some had hopes of winning a race. Others hoped to regain mobility, achieve weight loss or just socialize. Me, I simply love the feel of the water and want to fit in my jeans!
And so, it’s the same with writing contests. We all paid the same entry fee and are entitled to be in the contest. Some writers have English degrees. Others may have published books. A few may struggle with “it’s” versus “its.” I just want to have fun with the idea of writing. While we share the same dream of winning, the joy is in writing our own story.
I came home. Having tested the water with the CBC contest, I decided to enter another one. To ensure receipt of one’s submitted written story, it was suggested to enclose a self-addressed stamped postcard. This is what I wrote on mine:
I may not win any contest, but one thing is certain. My letter carrier will smile when he reads my postcard and so will I!
Photo credits to Pixabay for featured image and to Pero Vojkovic (Unsplash) for the last photo.