Contest Cornucopia

There are many ways we can flex our writing muscles and satisfy our need to tell stories. Priscilla, one of my writing buddies, recently had a powerful story published in an online journal called “Pulse.” It was so exciting to see the comments praising her sensitive treatment of a difficult subject. And Nancy, another writing buddy, has also enjoyed valuable exposure online.

Yet another friend actually found her agent and eventually a book contract with a major publisher through a competition sponsored by Amazon. Just recently, I came across a writing contest winner and thought I’d share her story from Woman’s World magazine with you:

Laurie Isop had always enjoyed writing as a hobby. When her sister alerted her to the grand prize offered by the Cheerios Spoonful of Stories contest: a publishing deal with Simon & Schuster, a $5,000 cash prize, and a copy of her book inserted in 3 million Cheerios boxes, Laurie took the plunge. She submitted a heart-tugging children’s tale called How Do You Hug a Porcupine? Several weeks later she received a once-in-a-lifetime call: her story had won the grand prize! Laurie’s advice:

Use classic storytelling elements: Whether you are writing for kids, teens, or adults, you need a character who learns and grows, an appealing theme, and above all, conflict. Says Laurie: “My story has conflict — I mean, how do you hug a porcupine? — and is told in a captivating rhyme that kids love to hear.”

Use your own life as inspiration: Laurie’s story is based on a personal experience she had as an adult that was far afield from the tale she told, but provided its seed: “We’ve all had that cold prickly feeling after an awkward encounter. Well, I had one of those at a work meeting — and voila’! — my idea was born!”

If this success story has piqued your interest, you can find writing contests in all genres, from romance to crime, at:, Poets & Writers Web site, (writing contests), and

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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2 Responses to Contest Cornucopia

  1. Joe Owens says:

    Karin – part of my writing strate4gy this year is to find and enter contests hoping for a similar reuslt as Llaurie. I read something in a blog late in 2012 that sturck me: “If you are not seeing rejection letters you aren’t trying hard enough!” Obviously we all hope and dream of the acceptance letter, but this like life is a marathon, not a sprint. Basically if we see no letters we are not trying!

    • Hi Joe,

      Thanks so much for your note. It’s so powerful to set an intention and create a writing
      strategy for the year as you have. That comment about rejection is so true — the more we
      get out there, the more rejections we’ll receive, but the greater our chance of success.
      As my coach and mentor Rob Gilbert says on his Success Hotline (973.743.4690): Don’t hang back,
      go all out! He also says that people who succeed in reaching their goals actually receive more
      rejections than people who don’t. The difference is, the succeeders keep on going! And
      here’s another tip from Rob: NO = Next Opportunity. I hope some of the contest sites I
      listed in my blog prove useful. Please keep me posted on your progress!

      Write on,

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