Sunday, February 14, 2010

Writing contest

I feel like I need to extend a metaphorical olive branch, after the response to my grammatical critique a few days ago. I was thinking back to my favorite teachers from high school and college. The best ones always provided constructive criticism: praise for what you're already doing well, and critique of what needs work. Only hearing praise would have felt warm and fuzzy, but wouldn't have helped me improve. Only hearing criticism would have discouraged me. (I had a violin teacher in high school who did this, and she made me cry all the time. I finally switched teachers because she scared me so much.)

So I am going to sponsor a writing contest. Think of it as Act II--the part where we put our minds and pens (keyboards) to work and do something constructive. To entice you to participate, I have prizes!

Topic: Becoming a Parent, Becoming Transformed
Genre: Your choice (first-person narrative, short story, informational article, etc.)
Length: 500-1,000 words
Deadline: entries must be received by March 1, 2010
Submission instructions: email your essay and contact information to stand.deliver at One entry per person, please. Entry must be your own original, unpublished material. Don't even think about plagiarizing.
Prize: winning entry receives a $50 gift certificate to Second Womb Slings. The entry will also be published at Stand and Deliver.

I purposely made the contest topic open-ended. I encourage you to reflect on one specific aspect of becoming a parent that has transformed you in some way. It could be about anything from struggling with infertility to giving birth to raising an exceptionally spirited child.

Please spread word about this contest. I look forward to an inbox full of entries!


  1. Oh! This is such a good idea! Eeeeeeee!


  2. How is this an olive branch? It just reinforces your self-entitlement to decide what and who is worthy to dicuss birthing practices.

    Perhaps you should ask Ms. Christopher to be one of the that would be an olive branch.

  3. I think this is a great idea too!

    I obviously see it different from Susan G, in that I think it actually GIVES people - anyone - a chance to write what they want, however they want. From what I understand, you're accepting entries from ANYONE, correct?

    You'll have mine soon, for sure!

  4. Rixa, if I can find two seconds to rub together (an expression a friend of mine just used, and that I find delightful), I will put in my entry. Parenting has transformed me in more ways than I can count, and I'd love the opportunity to write about it. Now, to figure out when.....

    I've read all of the hullaballoo on your other post, and find it.... exasperating. The article was terrible, and though you may have been a bit snarky, WHO CARES?!?! I've been flamed enough times on the Internet to know that not everybody agrees, even on things that make sense. Oh well.

    I certainly remembered some things about my native language by reading your critique. Thanks. :)

  5. I submitted my entry because someone linked me here from Facebook. Then after the email was sent, I went to read the rest of the blog and saw the entry with the grammar critique.

    Now I'm sure that my submission will not only not win, it won't even get an honorable mention, lol.

  6. But I had fun writing it, though. :)

  7. Anyone can submit, of course.

    I am assembling a fantastic panel of judges for this contest--it's definitely not just me making the call. I'm waiting to hear back from all of them, but some are writers, some are birth bloggers, some are "regular" mamas. Should be great!

    This contest is not just about grammar, do don't worry. In fact, grammar will play just a small role in the overall criteria we'll be using.

  8. Isn't it redundant to say "original, unpublished material" and then say "don't even think about plagiarizing"? Are you trying to be offensive or is it completely unintentional?

  9. Are there extra points for brown nosing? If so, then there are lots of people on here who have an unfair advantage.

  10. Okay, enough with the complaining everyone!

    I've been around long enough to know that plagiarism is a big problem. So that's why I gave it the extra emphasis.

  11. Haha! This blog got really hardcore overnight, didn't it?

    You hit a nerve, Rixa!

  12. I also think the writing competition is a good idea, and the original post inspired me to think about my own grammar. I wish it was still up!

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Hi Val,

    Please do send yours in. This contest isn't a grammar test!

  15. As a writer myself (though obviously with an entirely different philosophy of writing, clearly I am a postmodernist), I would LOVE to hear who will be a part of your panel.

  16. I should have said libertarian postmodernist but I hate labels anyhow.

  17. I am laughing so hard at these comments right now. I needed a good laugh. I'm really glad I saw this contest--just not sure if I can come up with something compelling in 2 weeks.

  18. So happy to have this opportunity.

    Rixa- Will we get to read some of the stories after the contest is over, or just the winning submission.



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