Monday, October 18, 2010

$5,000 Prize on the Horizon?

Maybe it's wishful thinking -- or perhaps I've gotten my act in order and have produced a potentially prize-winning product. Anyhow, recently I submitted an essay to the Missouri Review's 20th Annual Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize in Fiction, Essay and Poetry, which will select three grand-prize winners only; however, each of those winners will get a check for $5,000 in the mail and likewise will have a chance to give a presentation before a crowd at the University of Missouri.

Not that personal time and effort is a factor come time for judging, but I have to say that I worked on this essay -- a nearly 6,000 word piece about a significant experience in my life that, for now, I will leave unspecified -- for perhaps hundreds of hours over a three-month period. Let's hope it will pay off; not just for the money, not just for the recognition, but for the sake of jump-starting my writing career.

Writing full-time for a living -- and I'm talking about creative writing, not just article writing or blogging -- is my dream. It may or may not happen, but I intend to put in the effort to bring about such a transformation in my life and in the life of my family. I've been out of work for nearly four months (a brief time contrasted to some other folks, a few whom I know to be unemployed for two years or more), and I cannot seem to secure a teaching job. So, I write and write -- and shall write some more. Essays, short stories, screenplays -- I want to do it all.