When you enter a writing competition or hand in an essay for school, there is a section you can look at called submission guidelines. It may say guidelines but they are more like rules and following them is essential. Why? Because if you don’t follow these guidelines, no matter how good the writing, you will more than likely fail. Trust me, I know through experience.
The first time this happened I was at university. I handed in my essay thinking I would get a good mark. I had no reason to think otherwise, I always did well in this particular unit (history FYI). But when I got the essay back I had barely received a pass and when I looked at my lecturer’s comments I was surprised to see that I had strayed from the topic of the essay. This resulted in only just getting a pass and it was only because I had followed every other guideline he had for the essay that I managed to get that. He said that my essay was great, just not what he had asked for. I was devastated but there was nothing I could do but resolve not do that again.
Well that resolve lasted during my uni days and even during the early years of submitting my writing. But then I entered a writing competition this year and I did exactly what I did at uni, strayed from the topic. Consequently I didn’t get anywhere in the competition. Even worse was the fact that I didn’t realise what I had done until I read the winning story and it hit me like a brick to the face. It’s painful when you realise you’ve screwed yourself over.
But that is behind me and I’m entering another competition in July. This time I have two people to go through the submission guidelines with me. This way if I get off track there is someone to pull me back into line. It’s about the only thing I can think of to ensure I don’t keep making the same mistake, seeing as I clearly forget the lesson after a while.
So please, take my advice and ensure you check the submission guidelines for anything you enter. They are important and will help you succeed at whatever it is you are doing.
Have a great week everyone and happy creating!