Before I jump into that question–directed at writers, so my apologies if you are a rodeo queen–I want you to know that I’m building a Flash Fiction blog hop at Carrot Ranch. Wednesdays will be “Flash Fiction” days and I will post more about the rules of play between now and its debut on March 5.

In the meantime, I’m curious to know if you, as writers, enter your writing into contests. I did. Why? Well, if I wanted to be a bronc rider, I’d need to prove that I can ride a bronc (an untamed horse; one that bucks wildly). Rodeos are a test of a cowboy’s skills, including bronc riding.

So, I’m a career business writer making the transition into writing fiction. I’ve long dabbled and throughout the years, from workshop organizers to former lit professors to industry posts, I’ve heard that winning a few contests like winning a few rodeo belt-buckles is good for building credibility.

It’s a bit nail-biting because I might be a great bronc rider, but if I get bucked off during a rodeo, I look like a clown. Thus, I might be a great writer, but fail to win any contests that I enter. Do I then demote myself from great to failed? Such are the questions writers wrestle with daily as we cling to credibility in our craft.

Nonetheless I sent a submission. It was thrilling to get accepted so at the very least I need to remember that an editor did chose my story. The contest organizers are building reader engagement and require Facebook “likes,” good comments regarding the writing and closing arguments to persuade the judges. It’s really hard to tell if this is just a popularity contest or an authentic way to engage writers and readers. I feel caught between the confidence of an adult and the agony of being sent back to junior high school.

Leave me a comment about your views on contests or any experiences you want to share. And if you want to help a writer win a writing rodeo, at least give my story a like at: Midlife Collage Contest. If you want me to shout, “Yeehaw!’ loud enough to be heard across the horse pasture, leave me a stellar comment on my story. Winners are announced next Monday morning, Feb. 3, 2014.

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