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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Sandy James

In Praise of Contests

It’s very hard for new writers to find something that helps them build confidence. I was lucky enough to have a published author as a friend, and she became my mentor. She offered encouragement when I needed it, but she also gave me a quick kick in the pants when I needed that, too. Her feedback was invaluable to me, but I wanted to spread my wings. She encouraged me to enter one of the many RWA chapter writing contests.

I hit the finals in the third contest I entered, and from that moment on, I became a “Contest Diva.” I targeted good contests, polished my stories, and entered them for two years. Making the finals was always a rush, and I loved being able to brag that I finaled six different manuscripts in fifteen contests. But what I got that was more important to me was feedback.

The hard work put in by my contest judges to give me helpful suggestions and good advice helped me become a better writer. While I might not have been thrilled about all their comments, the majority were helpful and constructive, and my books are better because of these dedicated judges.

About the time I figured my contest days were over, I decided to try my hand at published contests. My first book, Turning Thirty-Twelve, was named a finalist in the Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence Contest, Mainstream Category. It’s just hard for me to walk away from something as fulfilling as writing contests.


Ellen said...

Congrats, Sandy! And a great string of postings, I've really enjoyed them :)

Sandy James said...

Thanks, Ellen! You're such a sweetheart! :-)

Hywela Lyn said...

I've been enjoying your postings too Sandy!

Sandy James said...

Thanks, Hywela!! I appreciate all the great comments you've left for me! :-)