Staying True to Myself


For the past 2 years, I’ve entered our local library’s Short Story Writing Contest. And, for the past 2 years, I haven’t won…I haven’t even placed. But I have noticed something: all of the winning stories (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place) have dark and twisted story lines or involve blatant abuse.

I don’t write in that style. I write realistic women’s fiction about women in real life struggles. Sometimes their struggles are emotional, sometimes they’re moral, and sometimes they’re relational. But I try to steer clear of topics that involve blatant physical abuse, or demented lifestyles. There’s enough of that stuff on the news every day. I write stories to escape that dark world.

I write stories that women would feel comfortable sharing with anyone, even their teenage daughters, and not feel the need to tear out pages or be afraid their daughters would be shocked by what they read.

I don’t think you necessarily need that dark stuff to still have a good book.

So here I am this year, contemplating entering the Writing Contest again. Maybe I should write something that would appeal to the judges’ appetite. At least I might have a shot at getting out of the mini slush pile. But that would mean compromising. That would mean not staying true to myself. #authenticlife

How am I supposed to face my children and teach them that who they “say” they are, should “be” who they are, if I am not doing that myself?

Then again, if I don’t enter the contest, then how will I teach my children that a little competition is a good thing, and that losing is okay?

I wrote a rough draft of a story I might enter, but it didn’t sit well with me. Even as I was writing, it felt dark and depressing. Maybe I should start over and write what I’m best at, even if it isn’t what the judges are looking for.

At least I’m being true to myself. I have to remember that besides being a writer, I’m a parent, and someone is always watching the choices I make.

Any advice?


16 thoughts on “Staying True to Myself

  1. As writers we all have our own voice and style and I agree that you should write what you’re comfortable with. Being honest to yourself and your writing is more important than winning any competition or kudos. Have you searched for other writing competitions to enter instead? I have found judges veer to a particular style which may not be how we write and often something dramatic will stand out more. Find a competition to a suit your style of writing and genre. Good luck

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Stay true to yourself, if those judges didn’t like your writing that doesn’t mean they’re not Good, You just need the right people to judge and they should have categories tbh.
    There is this site called “wattpad” it’s amazing and it’s a good platform for writers to show there work, So I highly recommend that you give it a go and show your work and trust me you will find the right people that would LOVE your stories.
    Good luck and if you created an account tell me, I would love to give them a go x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have faith in yourself. Write from you hear and you will be fine! Everyone has there own style of writing. You just need to “own” yours. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Although there is alot of darkness in the world and i think it is helpful for those stories to be told as they might help someone in the same situation, I prefer to be a positive person . I would rather read a positive story than a negative one.Happy tears are better than sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Entering a Local Short Story Contest | Write Side of the Road

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