Dear friend,

Fiction is frequently a source of inspiration to me (especially considering I’m training to become a professional author.) Writing stories helps you see inspiration in the lives of strangers, in games you play with friends, in the what-ifs of the endings of other stories, in the gurgling of the sink as the dishwater drains.

My first book was a fanfiction of my favorite series when I was eight, Bruce Coville’s The Unicorn Chronicles. It was probably a total of half a page of writing, but I drew pictures to go with it and my mom bound it. I was so proud of that book.

The next story I wrote was inspired by a game my cousin and I played with her little stuffed monkey. It was a children’s picture book about a monkey superhero. I worked on a novel and several short stories throughout my teen years.

Once, I took a chance on one of those short stories (a retelling of the Bluebeard fairytale) and submitted it to a contest.

Did I make it? Absolutely not.

Was I disappointed? Absolutely.

Thankfully, I didn’t give up. I kept writing. I even moved to Ohio for an apprenticeship at The Company, which has helped me improve significantly.

Contests are great motivators.

The Company is putting on a short story contest this spring and it’s free to enter! (So there’s no risk in entering.)

Maybe you’re hoping to get published. Perhaps you are looking for an excuse to write a story. Or maybe you’re just looking for some practice with a due date.

Whatever the case may be, you should enter the contest.

The theme is “buried”. The story doesn’t have to have the word in it, just the concept. Perhaps you like pirates and buried treasure, burying seeds for a garden in the spring, or looking for buried information in a pile of books.

The cool thing about this contest? I’m one of the judges!

If you’ve never entered a writing contest or completed a project, this is a great first step to accomplish your writing dreams. It’s a small project and easily completed. The short story only needs to have under 1,500 words. You even have two whole months to finish it (enter by July 1, 2024.)

For more information about the rules and how to enter visit The Company’s article here.

Sincerely,

R. J. Catlin