Every so often on my friendly Facebook feed something pops up that is begging me to write. Most of the time I just ignore it, allowing myself the myriad excuses that pop into my head to validate this laziness or lack of motivation that has epitomized my lack of creativity in the last year or so. And so I scroll on, watching snippets of cat videos liking every inspirational quote about motivation and determination. A day or so later, I will like every time an old college acquaintance of mine professes that they will be taking part in one of these challenges, and dismiss the fact that I feel a sour tinge of envy that I am not forcing myself to find the time (because, let’s face it, it’s there, folks) to create. I am not writing other than for work or in my planner before bed to remind myself that I am doing great at accomplishing my goals. The one goal I am not actually writing down or accomplishing: writing more. Or writing “hard and clear about what hurts” as Hemingway once dared us to do.
Hence, I present to you (and myself): the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. I have seen this challenge time and again (it is the 12th annual this year) and it kicks off in just two days, on January 26th. I think I may just do this one, and I challenge you to, as well. Why not start the year off marking some things off the ever-evolving list of intentions?
The Gist according to NYC Midnight themselves:
The 12th Annual Short Story Challenge is a creative writing competition open to writers around the world. There are 3 rounds of competition. In the 1st Round (January 26 to February 3, 2018), writers are placed randomly in heats and are assigned a genre, subject, and character assignment. Writers have 8 days to write an original story no longer than 2,500 words. The judges choose a top 5 in each heat to advance to the 2nd Round (March 29 to April 1, 2018) where writers receive new assignments, only this time they have just 3 days to write a 2,000 word (maximum) short story. Judges choose finalists from the 2nd Round to advance to the 3rd and final round of the competition where writers are challenged to write a 1,500 word (maximum) story in just 24 hours (May 11 to 12, 2018). A panel of judges review the final round stories and overall winners are selected.
Convinced? As I am writing this I have clicked “register” and that is that. Here’s to a 2018 full of pages that are filled with the people, places, and things that are pin balling around up there. Happy writing!
The 2017 Nonfiction Essay Contest gave us the chance to read amazing voices from emerging and established voices from around the country. We want to say thank you to those of you who submitted and to those who have support Unsolicited Press in the last five years. Okay, okay, let's just do this already.
Michael Murray has been selected as the grand prize winner of the contest and we are happy to offer him a contract for a book, on any topic or as an expansion of his essay, Spring Break.
We shouldn't forget the finalists, though. Although we wanted to select 15 writers for the anthology, we decided to narrow it down to four other writers that demonstrated an incredible knack for essay writing. After all, we refuse to select 15 essays for the sake of selecting essays, when in fact, only four other essays were worthy of publication. The finalists of the contest are Mick Bennett, Erica Zilleruelo, Willow Curry, and JoeAnn Hart.
Once we narrow down the details, we will tell you more information about the the anthology, Michael's book, and anything about the finalists!
Unsolicited Press is launching a search for the very best nonfiction essay. The contest is open from February 2, 2017 through to March 15, 2017.
All essay lengths will be considered.
The Grand Prize Winner will receive guaranteed publication from U.P. for a book-length piece of nonfiction that expands upon the essay or another topic completely.
The top 15 essayists will be published in an essay collection to be distributed worldwide. Essayists will be heavily promoted as well.
Interested? Learn more here.