What I Learned from the Writer’s Games

The clock is ticking. Your fingers are typing away and your mind is working at the speed of light. Word after word appears on the page as if by magic.

This is what it’s like writing a story for the Writer’s Games.

For years, this wonderful competition by The Writer’s Workout slipped past my radar. I don’t even remember how I discovered it, but when I did, I couldn’t believe it was real. Prompted short stories? Any genre? Feedback on every entry? FREE???

Cue the instant signup. I caught it just in time, right before registration closed.

In short, the Writer’s Games is a fun competition for writers. You get a prompt at the start of the weekend and have to finish the story before Tuesday. However, it’s really less of a competition and more of a chance for growth. Though the winners do get their stories in an anthology, to me, the bigger prize is being encouraged to write a story every weekend and, best of all, getting feedback on it!

So, after the registration came the waiting and watching my email for the announcement of the first event of the Games. When the initial practice event was announced, I instantly got to work and submitted it with a couple hours left before the deadline. For this event, I only got feedback on the formatting, but that was fine; I had finished a brand new story that I was proud of, and that was most important to me!

The next practice event came, but I was too busy to submit anything. That was okay, though; I’d submit for the real events coming up.

Oh, naive little me.

The first weekend came. I penned a really fun story that grew longer than I’d originally intended. On Monday evening, it was down to the wire and I was editing like mad…

The deadline slipped by. I took a deep breath. It was okay, this was a learning experience. I’d get one in next week.

Next week came. Again, I got to work. I was just about to finish my edits when-

8:00 P.M. The deadline.

This time, I was angry with myself. If only I’d started five minutes earlier. If only I’d worked a little faster. If only.

The next week I was on vacation, so I’d already anticipated not being able to do that one. Still, I started a fun story that was one of my favourites so far.

And the weeks after that, I was too busy to jot down more than a first page or two, caught up in new job opportunities and personal matters.

Before I knew it, the Games were over and the winners announced.

At first, I was disappointed. I hadn’t even been able to submit one story to the actual events! But then, I realised that because of the Writer’s Games, I had at least started six new stories, and of those stories, half of them were finished or almost there. And each story is so incredibly unique! One of them I like so much that I’m planning on submitting it to the Writers of the Future competition, just for fun. The others I’ll be posting on Simily and Vocal once I polish them up.

Participating in the Writer’s Games this year also gave me a good idea of what to expect next year. It showed me how I need to structure my weekend in order to finish a story on time. More importantly, it showed me that sometimes, life happens. You may have your heart set on doing one thing, but the future is unpredictable. It doesn’t mean that you failed, it just means that you had to manage your time differently than you expected. If anything, it shows that you can adapt! This all reminds me of Proverbs 16:9 – “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Registration isn’t live for 2023 yet, but I can’t recommend the Writer’s Games highly enough. Even if you can’t submit anything, it’s a great learning experience and you’ll come away with lots of new material. Keep an eye on The Writer’s Workout page – or even subscribe to their awesome emails – to be the first to know when next year’s registration opens.

Happy writing!
E.J.


Want to learn more about how to write a great story? Subscribe to my monthly newsletter to get a FREE storytelling guidebook right off the bat, plus insider looks into my upcoming works, more writing tips, book recs, and much more!

Photo by Owen Michael Grech on Unsplash

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