Writer's Digest is Great! (Why I didn't win 5th place)


I woke up this morning, still thrilled that I had won 5th place in the Mainstream/Literary Category of Writer’s Digest 82nd Annual Competition for my short story. But a memory that they had rules about simultaneous submissions sent me to their website.  I checked and emailed the staff to tell them that the story had been published this year in the California Writers Club Literary Review. I realized that probably disqualified my 5th place win.

 The staff, especially Cris, took a thorough look at the dates of the two submissions to see if I still could be eligible. For a while, it seemed possible. After several emails back and forth, we concluded that yes, I would have to be disqualified.

 I appreciated and was pleasantly surprised at how personable Cris is in these situations. It isn’t the first time they’ve had to disqualify people after announcing their win. I was told that they appreciated my honesty, that it was refreshing. I sensed they really wanted me to be able to keep the award. Cris encouraged me to submit again in the future.

 In my mind, I feel rewarded to know that I placed 5th out of 1000 entries even if, in the end, I couldn’t reap the awards.

 I caution you all to be better at record keeping than I am. To keep track of which stories you send where, what date, and the date of the result, whether it’s acceptance or rejection. In the end, it all comes down to dates.

I also encourage you to submit to Writer’s Digest’s competitions. My experience with them today increases my appreciation for all they do in our writing community.

(Special thanks to Cris.)



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For over twenty-five years, I've taught elementary grades, high school, and county special education classes. Now I am a field supervisor for teachers working toward their teaching credentials. I also teach writing classes in Dublin and Pleasanton, California. I have won 5 awards in short story contests, My stories are published in The California Writers Club Literary Review, and several anthologies including four times in Las Positas College collections. I have several book projects, but the two that have my immediate attention are HADA'S FOG, which is women's fiction, LILLI, a YA novel, and NORMAN IN THE PICTURE, a paranormal mystery. I have published an anthology WRITTEN ACROSS THE GENRES that includes writings from members of my writing classes and other writers. It's available on Amazon and Kindle.

8 thoughts on “Writer's Digest is Great! (Why I didn't win 5th place)”

  1. It’s more about being appreciated than about the award for the prize. My record keeping is terrible, too. I don’t think it will change. Too many things to do and not enough time. Congratulations anyway. 5th is excellent, prize or not.


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