by Karol Ruth Silverstein
Editor’s Note: A “changing of the guard” has taken place recently at LA SCBWI, with our wonderful Contest Coordinator, Marcelle Green passing that baton to our equally wonderful Mingle Meister, Karol Ruth Silverstein, who has, in turn, passed the Mingle Meister baton to, yes, another wonderful volunteer: Jennifer Pitts. Read on as Karol explains the change-over, and why the contest-addiction struggle is real! Many thanks to Marcelle for all her hard work over the year. We wish her the best of luck on all her future endeavors! And welcome to the team, Jennifer!
I have a confession: I was addicted to entering contests.
Unlike casual contest entrants, who may really benefit from the manufactured deadlines and bravery required to put their work out there (not to mention the potential cash and prizes — woohoo!), it became an unhealthy obsession for me. Writers Day events weren’t about the great faculty and enjoying a fun day with my fellow children’s book writers and illustrators. Increasingly, they became about the contest. If my manuscript won — which a few have — I was high as a kite. If I didn’t win or place in the contest — which is what happens more often than not — the day felt like a total waste. Never mind the inspiring keynotes or illuminating panels. Even if I came in second or third, the initial high of being “a winner” was soon replaced by the disappointment of not having been deemed “the best.”
I’d literally dream of winning contests. Any addiction specialist will tell you that the cure for obsessive compulsion is complete abstinence. But could I do it? Could I really walk away from entering all the SCBWI LA contests voluntarily? I wasn’t sure I could. Continue reading