A year ago I joined a free writers site. It was fun because I could post items to get comments from other writers, receive postings about writing opportunities, and, my personal favorite, enter a free weekly writing challenge.
I haven’t entered the contest in MONTHS, and I was excited to do it this week. I had some free time to write, but it’s not the kind that I need for my novel, so a short story was perfect. The topic for the week: Oops.
I was pretty excited about it. I started the story a few days ago, worked on it a bit, but didn’t really have time to finish it until last night. The entry deadline is every Thursday at 8 am (or 9 am…I’m not really sure). Because I’m babysitting and have to have the kids to school by 8am, I needed to finish it last night.
It’s not perfect, but I did it. I stayed up until 11:30 pm to make sure it’s entry-worthy. I then copied it and prepared to submit it…only to discover that my once-free website is no longer free. At the least I had to commit to a 12 month subscription at $5/month. While that’s not a tremendous amount of money, it’s not a commitment that I’m ready to make.
And so now I have a decently written story and no place to put it, so I’ve learned my lesson: even if you think you know what you’re doing, read the directions (submission guidelines) again. Don’t stay up two hours past your bedtime if you didn’t read the directions.
Has that ever happened to you? How often do you check the guidelines to make sure you really know what they want?