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Opportunities Missed

Cheryl's Musings: Opportunities Missed

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


Opportunities Missed

The current busy-ness in my life right now is that I'm coordinating my local SCBWI chapter's Manuscript Critique sessions for our fall conference. It's a cool volunteer position, because it keeps me in the loop for what's going on in my SCBWI chapter. It also puts me in touch with many of the writers in the Colorado area. Writers of all levels enter the sort-of contest. Sort-of, because it's not an official contest; but it feels a little contest-like because the best manuscripts will be forwarded on to editors and agents for critiques. The Manuscript Critique offers a rare opportunity to put your manuscript in front of editor/agent eyes--and then hear directly from them what did and didn't work.
The process makes me realize, though, how many opportunities we miss as writers. Entering the MS Critique was relatively inexpensive--$40 for a critique. Given all the writers in the Rocky Mountain region, you'd think we'd have hundreds of entries--but we have relatively few. Enough that there's still a bit of competition for those coveted editor/agent critique slots, but still. How many people didn't enter because they didn't think they had a shot?

This is also on my mind because I'm in touch with the folks coordinating another opportunity with our fall conference: a scholarship for writers to attend the conference. Again, entering wasn't difficult--entrants had to write a 250-word essay about why they write for young readers, their current projects, and their writing goals. Relatively few entered.

I also read recently that most editors never see the manuscripts they request at conferences.

Submitting--entering contests--putting ourselves out there to be judged. Those are tough things. But we writers have to develop tough hides if we want to make it in the world of publishing. What better way to practice than by entering a few contests and applying for a few scholarships along the way?

:) Cheryl
PS--This message brought to you by Lily, inspirational poodle extraordinaire, and her new cohort, Killian. We haven't figured out his title yet. "Your high cuteness" seems most appropriate at the moment, but he IS still a ridiculously delicious puppy. He's helping me keep the sofa warm as I write, exhausted from his job as Lily's sidekick.

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