February 09

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The Voice (for writers)

So we all know the show I’m referring to, right? And we’re all ready for the newest season that starts Feb 23rd?

Because I’ll admit it…I was clueless until I watched the show last season when Gwen Stefani joined. (I KNOW! The shame!) Not to worry…I’m fully addicted now and can’t wait for the new season. There’s something really cool about watching talented people not only be discovered, but be challenged on this journey…to see them grow in their craft from episode to episode, to see the ones who really take advantage of the opportunity and are hungry for it, and the ones who don’t even realize they’re letting it slip by. Yeah. I’ll definitely be watching.

The best part (in my mind) about the show is that it focuses on what’s truly important to an artist: The Voice. The judges have their backs turned so they aren’t distracted with appearances or stage presence from the very beginning. Those things are also very important, especially if you want to win, but in the beginning, there’s only one thing that counts: The Voice. And I love that.

It’s hard to think of “voice” and not think of writing. Those of you who write know what I’m talking about–you hear about voice all the time: how important it is to a story, how it needs to be done well to really draw a reader in, how it has to be authentic and real, not overdone. And there are plenty of online contests that offer prizes for writers who do this really well. I’ve had several friends who found their literary agents (and eventually book deals) through participating. It’s such a fun concept and a great way for a BRAVE writer to put their work out there, many times anonymously, and get really constructive, helpful feedback.

Here are two of my favorites:

The Baker’s Dozen Agent Auction – Usually held around October/November, this auction/contest is a favorite of mine. If you have a finished, polished manuscript, $15, and are looking for a literary agent, this is a great contest to enter. If your voice and first 250 words are chosen, your entry will go live, anonymously, and will be visible to the participating editors and agents, who will then bid on their favorite entries. The competition is fierce and you’ll get great feedback, as well as the opportunity to win over an agent with those first few pages. (The Authoress also has contests throughout the year, so be sure to check out the blog in its entirety and see if any are for you. It’s a really great place for aspiring writers.)

#PitMad – If you’re a writer and you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably seen this one. It’s a great way to be succinct with  your pitch and gain requests from agents. This post by Brenda Drake is fabulous…it not only gives the dates of the upcoming events, but gives amazing tips for how best to participate. Check it out!

I know there are tons of other writing contests out there…feel free to share your favorites in the comments.

And if you decide to participate: GOOD LUCK! May the best “voice” win.

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