The Comedy of Errors that is my Minor Writing Success

CIndyTree1

Photo by Debra Worden

Good news: I learned in the last month that two pieces of writing had won Honorable Mention Awards from The 35th New Millennium Writing Contest and that a third piece had made it to the Semifinals. My three pieces garnered a little recognition out of 1,100 entries! I must be a brilliant writer, right? Not!

Here’s the typically-happens-to-Cindy news: I had no idea, until last week and this week, what I’d even sent into the contest. I had no recall of entering The New Millennium Writing Contest. I have a vague memory of having seen a call for submissions in one of the writing magazines I subscribe to. I only learned of my Honorable Mentions because I received a list of winners in my email and for shits and giggles decided to read down the list of Honorable Mention Winners. There was my name. Another email. I did it again. And again found my name. But if you weren’t the Grand Prize Winner (which I wasn’t) you only saw your name listed but not the name of the work being recognized.

Normally, I log such information into a spreadsheet, but obviously, I did not do that for this contest. I could make an educated guess about which essay won the Honorable Mention and which short story, based on success in the past, but I couldn’t be SURE.

After weeks of wondering if I was right in my guesses, I received congratulations letters from New Millennium for the essay, “Stuck in the Middle,” and the short story, “The Cross Dresser,” both having won the Honorable Mentions in nonfiction and fiction, respectively. I also received a very thoughtful apology letter from the managing editor for not having sent those congratulations emails much sooner.

And JUST when I thought it was all over, I received another email from New Millennium saying that my essay, “A Smirnoff and Coke,” had made  it to the Semifinals and a big congrats from them on doing so well.  

I have no recollection of sending any of this work. I have no confirmation emails that the works were received successfully all those months ago when I submitted. How much of my work did I send them? It all did so well. Should I send them more? Have I already sent them everything I’ve ever written and just forgot that I did so?

Although my name will be listed among award winners in an upcoming issue, I do not believe any of these works will be published, as only the grand prize winners and a few select finalists get published. I am usually never what you’d call “select,” never mind “grand.”

Still, in a writer’s world of rejection after rejection after rejection, one must celebrate, however oddly, any success in seeing her writing recognized as good. So, thank you New Millennium for all the kudos. New Millennium hopes I will post their congratulations letters for all to see, which gives me permission to brag about myself. I think also they would like to spread the word about their writing contests, which appear to be on-going. So go to the website (after you bask in my minimal glory below) and consider entering a writing contest!

Congratulations on Your Honorable Mention

in New Millennium Writings…

#1

July 17, 2013

Dear Cindy,

Congratulations on your Honorable Mention for “Cross Dresser” in the New Millennium Writings competition that closed January 31, 2013. Your name will be included on the Awards page of our next issue of New Millennium Writings, and will appear at www.newmillenniumwritings.com, along with other winners of our 35th Consecutive Awards. The winners and runners-up, including your entry, were selected from about 1,000 total submissions in four categories—including about 350 fiction entries. The quality was high, and you should be proud of your accomplishment. Feel free to copy and paste this letter to other programs in order to keep and print in a suitable format, or to email it to friends or other media.

In answer to frequently asked questions…

Stephen Coyne of Sioux City, IA, has won The New Millennium Prize for Fiction, for “Ice Boy,” a gritty tale of a washed-up crabber hiding from life, and a woman just trying to find a way to fly, if only for a moment. Celebrated author David Madden chose this story and had these words of praise for the story: “I look for characters, their relationships, conflicts, internal or external or both, as expressed in style and through the chosen point of view, all controlled artfully by an overall conception. Ice Boy fulfilled all those criteria.” And how.

* You’ll receive your free copy next winter.

* No, your good showing does NOT disqualify you from entering this or any other contest as often as you like, with this or any other work of your choosing. We are pleased to acknowledge previous publication, and appreciate being cited by any publishers who should follow us.

* In order to keep focused on the integrity of our awards process, we only accept unsolicited manuscripts for general publication between the months of January and April.

* Our contests, however, are always open.

* Visit our website for more. If you’re interested in our current contest, which has a final deadline of July 31, please visit www.writingawards.com or follow guidelines below.

Mostly we just want to say we appreciate your interest in New Millennium Writings and the part you play in our success. Please tell others about us. Again, congratulations on your achievement!

Sincerely yours,

Alexis Williams, Managing Editor

More Awards from New Millennium Writings…

In keeping with tradition, we’ve extended our deadline in the New Millennium Writings Summer Contest, once only, to midnight, July 31, 2013

$4,000 in prizes, plus publication in NMW and on the Web at www.NewMillenniumWritings.com

$1,000 for best Nonfiction; $1,000 for best Fiction; $1,000 for best Poem; $1,000 for best Short-Short story (1,000-word limit)

(Nonfiction includes humor, memoir, creative nonfiction, travel, opinion, essay, interview, features, investigative reporting, etc.)

 Winners of The New Millennium Awards for Writing are showcased along with interviews, profiles and tributes to famous writers, present and past, such as Cormac McCarthy, Pamela Uschuk, Kurt Vonnegut, Allen Wier, William Pitt Root, J. D. Salinger, Julia Glass, Shel Silverstein, Khaled Hosseini, George Garrett, Ken Kesey, John Updike, Lee Smith, Lucille Clifton, Shelby Foote, Paul West, Norman Mailer, Sharyn McCrumb, William Kennedy, Walker Percy, Robert Penn Warren and many others. Also, prize-winning stories, poems & articles, humor, graphic arts & more.

#2

Congratulations on Your Honorable Mention
in New Millennium Writings…

 July 17, 2013
 Dear Cindy,

Congratulations on your Honorable Mention for “Stuck in the Middle” in the New Millennium Writings Nonfiction competition that closed January 31, 2013. Your name will be included on the Awards page of our next issue of New Millennium Writings, and will appear at www.newmillenniumwritings.com, along with other winners of our 35th Consecutive Awards. The winners and runners-up, including your entry, were selected from about 1,000 total submissions in four categories—including about 250 nonfiction entries. The quality was high, and you should be proud of your accomplishment. Feel free to copy and paste this letter to other programs in order to keep and print in a suitable format, or to email it to friends or other media.

In answer to frequently asked questions…

* H. Boris Timberg of Hatboro, PA, has won The New Millennium Prize for Nonfiction, for “Ladders.”This powerful story, with its gritty realism alongside portrayals of sweet family moments, never shrinks from the heartaches and challenges that accompany our closest relationships. We are honored to publish it. This was one of our most competitive contests, and those winning Honorable Mentions, listed below, should be proud.

#3

Congratulations on Being a Semi-finalist

 in New Millennium Writings…

 

July 23, 2013

 

Dear Cindy Zelman,

 

As one who often enters contests I know how it feels to send a piece of writing off and never hear back. So here’s a note to let you know you did well in the New Millennium Writings competition that had a final deadline of January 31, 2013. Although you didn’t win, you were one of the writers who made it to the penultimate round of judging in our always-competitive awards contests for poetry, fiction, short-short fiction and nonfiction. About 150 made it this far and were selected from some 1,100 total submissions in four categories. Read past winners atwww.newmillenniumwritings.com. The quality in our contests is high, and you should be proud of your accomplishment. We certainly are. Feel free to print this letter or email it to others.

 

In answer to frequently asked questions…

 

 * “A Smirnoff and Coke” is the work that made it so far. 

 * Your strong showing does not disqualify you from re-entering your work or any other work.

 * Yes, you may enter in this contest or any other contest as often as you like.

 * If you’re interested in the next contest, which has a deadline of July 31, 2013, please visit www.writingawards.com.

 * Watch for your free 2014 anthology to arrive next spring.

    

  Mostly, I just want to congratulate you on your fine showing and express my appreciation for your interest in New Millennium Writings.   

 

Wishing you inspiration in all your writings,
Alexis Williams Carr
Alexis Williams Carr, Editor and Publisher

P.S. To join our online conversation, Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @NewMillWritings. 

 

 

About Cindy Zelman

Creative and Freelance Writer
Aside | This entry was posted in Creative Nonfiction, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Comedy of Errors that is my Minor Writing Success

  1. Kris Domich says:

    I don’t think I have the guts to take the ramblings from my brain, organize it and send it anywhere except to the free shredding service. I admire your gift and your guts. Keep sending your stuff out there… the world is better for it.

    Like

    • Cindy Zelman says:

      Kris, you are always such a strong supporter of my work, and most everything that I do. I so appreciate that our paths crossed. You are a terrific writer, and I hope someday you do more than shred your work. Thank you for everything.

      Like

    • Cindy Zelman says:

      My reply didn’t come out, Kris. It was a really nice reply, mainly telling you how much I appreciate you in my life and how I hope you will do more with your own writing someday.

      Like

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