Deadlines Are A Beautiful Thing
By. Kevin Priddle
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King
By King’s definition I’ve been sitting in the camp of amateurs for far too long. It’s a place I don’t want to be. I’ve fallen to the Philistines. They’ve got me in their snare.
I’ve talked before about how you can’t wait for a bolt of inspiration and I’ve touched on the frustration of unsuccessfully keeping your blog updated (cough first post in three months cough), so the only excuse I can make for why this is the first NoPhilistines.com post in way too long is that I simply haven’t given it a priority it deserves.
Self-regulation has never been my strength and I’ve always found external pressures (namely deadlines) to be an excellent motivator. So in the spirit of leaving the amateurs in the dust and just getting up and going to work, I’ve assembled a list of deadlines for upcoming Canadian writing contests and am rallying all you fellow anti-philistines to join me in a challenge to write!
Sift through the collection of writing contests assembled below and join me in using the deadlines as a catalyst for getting some words down on the blank page…
You’ve got less than a week to get your submission in for this one, but what better reason than that to drop everything and focus on the written word for the next few days? Submissions are to be less than 2,500 words (c’mon you can spit that out in your sleep) and there is no entry fee. Aside from being published in one of the country’s top newspapers, the winner will also get a cheque for $5,000 and a free spot in The Humber School for Writers 30-week correspondence program in creative writing. Deadline: February 24, 2013
“A postcard story starts not with words, but an image.” In this contest, Geist challenges writers to find a postcard (or any image really) that inspires you and inspires a story. Fiction or non-fiction; write your best 500 image-inspired words and attach the $20 entry fee for a chance at having your postcard story published in Geist and a first prize of $500. Deadline: March 1, 2013
The national organization of professionally published book authors is looking for fiction and non-fiction prose from all Canadian writers who have not been published in book format, in any genre and who do not have a contract with a book publisher. Submissions are to be 2,500 words or less and have the chance to win the top prize of $2,500 and an opportunity to be submitted to three Canadian magazine publishers for consideration. There is a $29 fee per entry and multiple submissions are encouraged. Deadline: March 1, 2013.
In this contest, Canadian publisher House of Anansi Press is asking writers to pick any song title from Broken Social Scene’s first album You Forgot It In People and use it as the title or theme for a short story. First things first, if you don’t know BSS or haven’t listened to You Forgot It in People then you have some important homework. Once you’ve picked one of the 13 iconic track titles for your short fiction (what’d you pick… Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl? Cause=Time? Lover’s Spit? Or maybe Shampoo Suicide?) get your best 1,000 to 5,000 words down on paper and send off your submission to the fine folks at House of Anansi. No entry fee is required and the best 13 short stories will be selected and published together in an e-book from House of Anansi Press. The first prize winner will also get $500, a VIP pass to the Field Trip Music & Arts Festival on June 8, 2013, at Fort York, Toronto and a trio of prize packs from Broken Social Scene, Arts & Crafts, and Anansi. Deadline: March 29, 2013.
The grassroots non-profit Montreal International Poetry Prize organization is looking for submissions for its annual poetry contest. Poems must be no more than 40 lines long and must be previously unpublished/original works of the author. The early entry deadline is March 31 with a $20 fee for submissions from developed nations and a $15 fee for submissions from developing nations. The final entry deadline is May 15 but you add an extra $5 to your entry fee. The prize purse (for one poem!) is a generous $20,000. Don’t miss out on this opportunity and get your pen pushing out poems ASAP. Deadline: March 31, 2013.
Only open to Canadians, this prize is awarded once a year to the best original, unpublished, poem or poetry collection submitted to the competition. For a $25 entry fee, participants have the chance to win $6,000, courtesy of the Canada Council for the Arts, and will have their poetry published in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine and on the Canada Writes website. The winner will also be awarded a two-week residency at The Banff Centre’s Leighton Artists’ Colony and will be interviewed on CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers. Poetry submissions must be between 400 and 600 words. Deadline: May 1, 2013.
There are over $3,000 worth of prizes and publication rights available in the three different categories of the annual Lush Triumphant award: fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. There are different word limits depending on whether you submit fiction, poetry or creative non-fiction, but the winning entries in each category will receive a $750 cash prize (plus payment for publication) and will be published in subTerrain’s Winter issue. It costs $27.50 per entry (so if you enter a poem and a short story you’ll have to pay two separate entry fees) but you also get a free one-year subscription to this great Canadian literary mag. Get writing now! You may submit as many entries in as many categories as you like! Deadline: May 15, 2013.
Since 1977 writers from all over the world have entered this Canadian-founded 3-Day writing binge/experiment to see if they have what it takes to pump out a first draft in just 72 hours. The contest runs each year over Labour Day Weekend and works on the honour system – it’s expected you only submit material you write over the three days. While many writers just use the weekend as a creative challenge to themselves, if you register and pay a small entry fee, you’ll have your 3-day novel judged by a professional panel and the chance to get the book published by Aresenal Pulp Press (after you’ve had a chance to edit the first draft with a team of editors of course). Deadline: August 30 to September 2, 2013.
Only open to Canadians, this prize is awarded once a year to the best original, unpublished, poem or poetry collection submitted to the competition. For a $25 entry fee, participants have the chance to win $6,000, courtesy of the Canada Council for the Arts, and will have their short story published in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine and on the Canada Writes website. The winner will also be awarded a two-week residency at The Banff Centre’s Leighton Artists’ Colony and will be interviewed on CBC Radio. Submissions must be between 1,200 and 1,500 words. Deadline: November 1, 2013.
Prairie Fire is now accepting entries for the Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award, Short Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction Contests. Over $6,000 worth of prizes is available across the three categories with first place prizes of $1,250. A $32 entry fee gets you one submission in one category (poetry, short fiction or creative non-fiction) as well as a one-year (4-issue) subscription to Prairie Fire literary magazine. You may have nine months until the deadline… but that’s no excuse to not start writing today! Deadline: November 30, 2013.