You've got 8 days to get your HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN MAGAZINE fiction contest piece in the mail! 8 days!! This year the theme is "the future" and max word count is 800.
But why bother? Thousands of entries. A set theme. And most of us can use a good 1000 words if we write about lacing our shoes in the morning -- being limited to 800 words for a WHOLE STORY is seemingly impossible.
And that's WHY I think writers should enter contests, apply for grants, and try different mediums. The best way to become a better writer is having to meet deadlines while writing under specific "limitations".
Because when the revisions requests come for your novel, nobody's going to hold your hand, and it feels like you've been thrown overboard without a life jacket. Practicing. Writing. And complying by contest rules is a great way to get your brain working under "pressure." I NEVER write futuristic things. And writing the story for Highlights was a challenge and fun! It was like coming up for air after being bogged down in the dark world of YA.
My story has been sent off. And now it's back to my novel (Which will end up being around 60,000+ words. Sigh.)
So next time a contest comes up. Try it out. Create a "writing contest" calendar and meet those deadlines. It' a great way to wrinkle your brain.
For guidelines or additional information, check out the Highlights Website: