I firmly believe that writers flourish when supported by fellow scribes. After all, who understands the joys and challenges of writing better than other writers?

Hence, I created my first-ever Meaningful Moments Writing Contest exclusively for my email subscribers. The majority of my followers are searching for:

  • opportunities to learn and grow as a writer,
  • reach a larger audience, and/or
  • build their credibility as an established (i.e., published) writer.

For these reasons, I decided to invite each of my subscribers to submit up to two short stories about meaningful moments in their lives.

The word count was limited to 1,500 words and could be on any topic.

The contest would run for one month (February).

Two winners would be featured here on the Ink & Impact blog and shared via my social media platforms (March).

I wasn’t sure if my idea would convert to a successful contest, but I figured it was worth a shot. Surely at least two people would welcome the opportunity to enter a completely free contest that would potentially provide them with free exposure to new readers.

My “A-Ha” Moment

After the announcement was made to my subscribers, I waited for the entries to begin rolling in. My hope was that at least ten people would submit.

Two weeks went by without any submissions.

I began to doubt my “great” idea. Then, at the end of the third week, the first entry arrived. Yay! I hoped that at least one more person would submit so I could follow through on my promise to publish two entries on the blog.

Three days before the close of my contest it dawned on me that I should have sent out reminders to my email list. What a huge oversight! How many times had I myself been interested in entering others’ writing contests, only to forget about them and miss the deadlines?

Off to the keyboard I went. I drafted a series of three follow-ups, a sort-of countdown to the contest deadline.

Guess what?

It worked! By the conclusion of the contest, I had received seven more submissions! Woo-hoo!

I know many of you are shaking your head at my excitement over eight entries when most writing contests receive hundreds, if not thousands, of submissions. I,  however, was absolutely thrilled!

How I Judged the Entries

The contest wrapped up last week and let me tell you, it was difficult to select only two winning entries! Each submission was unique and powerful. Some were humorous, some were sad, some offered hope and some looked at the past through truly creative lenses.

So how exactly did I finally select two winners? It was a difficult process of elimination.

  • First, those who didn’t follow the submission guidelines were removed from consideration. This included those who went over the word count limit or who sent their work as an attachment (sorry, but rules are rules).
  • Second, I looked for grammatical and spelling errors. However, each of those who entered the contest did an exceptional job in this area, so none of them were eliminated on that criteria.
  • Finally, I selected entries that truly resonated with me and wrought an emotional reaction.

After carefully reviewing them and even reading them aloud, I was finally able to whittle the entries down to two winners.

Congratulations to the winners of the Meaningful Moments Writing Contest!

  1. Linda Bragg, author of “My Sister’s Hands”
  2. Charlotte Hackman, author of “I Should’a Been a Boy Scout”

Linda’s article will appear next week here on the blog, and Charlotte’s will follow a week later. Be sure to bookmark the blog and check back next week!

In the meantime, be sure to sign up for my free writing newsletter to gain access to more subscriber-exclusive contests and opportunities! As a bonus, you’ll also receive my free infographic, “10 Productive Writing Tips.”