Christine DeSmet is the author of the Fudge Shop Mysteries, and the Mischief in Moonstone series. You can find out more about her at her website www.christinedesmet.com, or by clicking here, see her last post here, and buy her books here.
Sometimes writers get into slumps, or don’t know what to write. Or, we know what to write but wait for motivation or some signal to shove us into the prose.
New writers in particular may feel wobbly and need a helping hand or boost.
My suggestion? Enter a contest or two or three. Contests hand you a deadline and help set a fire under a writer or an entire career.
There are respected contests for published authors as well as beginners. Contests are often used by writers or authors for marketing; contest wins or placements help light a fire under readers and buyers, too.
I’m honored this year to be the guest fiction judge in the Wisconsin Writers Association annual contest, deadline June 2. It’s open to anybody; you don’t have to be a member. The contest includes a feedback option, always valuable.
Contests built my career. When I decided to try writing a novel, I knew nothing except that deadlines worked. I was a trained journalist.
I wrote a 300-page novel manuscript in a few months in my first try and entered a national contest. And won. Eek! Wow, right? The fire was lit. I wrote more. I entered more contests and placed well. I now had a “portfolio.”
Those early contests proved I could write fast and well enough to warrant seeking an agent and a contract. The contests also gave me the confidence to say “yes” to joining Jewels of the Quill, a group with the goal of writing novellas for publication under deadline pressure. My nine novellas in the Mischief in Moonstone Series (first four now available on Amazon) came out of that effort.
This spring I entered a poetry contest. I’m not a poet. I was interested in LEARNING. I wanted to feel the glee of being in “writer kindergarten.” The deadline challenged me to create a poetry form called Sijo. After a professional critique, I entered the contest. I didn’t win but the effort earned me a prize—a book about Sijo poetry. Without the creativity fire fueled by the contest, I doubt I would have ever tried Sijo poetry writing.
One of my publishers is building a creativity fire, too, to burn brightly and benefit my books. For the recent three Fudge Shop Mystery books the editor hired an artist this spring to create new covers under a similar theme. That includes Deadly Fudge Divas, and Undercover Fudge, and the forthcoming Holly Jolly Fudge Folly.
The artist, editor, and I went through three drafts. This was real art using real sketches and paint and so on, not stock art. I gave the artists a list of things to consider and had approval power. Seeing the early sketches thrilled my heart.
My publisher/editor is also working with an artist for covers for more of the novellas in the Mischief in Moonstone Series.
The next thing lighting a creative fire for me? June 16th! National Fudge Day!
The word “fudge” may have come about from the old word “fadge,” which means to mess around with things a bit. For those who think “fudge” is related to that other word starting with “fu,” sorry, not so. “Fudge” pre-dates that other word by a couple of centuries.
Fudge is considered to be a truly American word, now associated with Vassar College women students creating the first yummy candies called fudge.
Today, tourists called “fudgies” visit fudge shops in places like Door County, Wisconsin. I hope fudgies discover a fun mystery series set there called the Fudge Shop Mystery Series, recipes included.
What has built your creativity fire in your career thus far? Contests? Deadlines? Fellow writers? A creative editor or publisher? New covers for your books? Fudge?