As I mentioned in an earlier post, the entries to our So You Think You Can Write contest have had a great impact on me. Not only did they demonstrate to me that there is a large number of really good writers toiling away out there, the submissions contained some things that I thought other writers would would enjoy sharing. In the 345 submitted pieces, it turns out there are myriad reasons to write, some terrific pieces of advice about writing and a couple of inspriational quotes to share.
As you know, the contest asked people to write about why they should be chose as finalists in the contest. Many took the opportunity to talk about why they write and specifically why they were writing now:
- "I write for the same reasons I farm: I love it. I possess the unflappable spirtit of a goat, the eternal optimism of a hungry duck, and the resourcefulness of a hobby farmer."
- "I can tell you . . . what to take to the ferry lineup, when to pick nettles for gourmet savories, how to survive week-long power outages, where to grow crops that escape police detection, why to lock you car this time of year, unless of course you want six gigantic zucchini."
- "Me+Words = Happiness"
- "Everybody else came ahead of me in my list of priorities. It's my time now, and I have stories to tell."
- "Finally, I'm brave enough to take the chance of failing at something so intimate, so fundamental to who I am."
While the themes of risk and fear kept coming up, other challenges reared their heads as well:
- "You can work and strain and think all day only to get stuck in a corner."
- "Often, the story gets away from the course I gave it . . . the story pulls on my leash like (an) unruly puppy and I know I need to control it."
Some writers had some concrete advice to share:
- "Have fun with language. Quit writing like you're making an insurance claim. Let the inventor of grammar spin in his grave a little."
- "In writing, in life, in work, in art, there is wit to be found at wit's end . . ."
- "Writing anything makes me a better writer."
As the dreamer-upper of the contest, one writer in particular made everything worthwhile with one sentence:
- "I feel inspired to move forward with writing as a result of writing this submission."
And one final piece of wisdom I believe anyone can relate to:
- "Someone who's still trying, can't be labelled a loser."