Writing for a Broken Record

By Alexandria Harris

I  have not been watching the Olympics. I know it only comes around every four years, but you can’t blame a girl for being busy.  I’ve been partly keeping up on events and drama through Twitter/ random news sites, friends and my mom so I definitely had a conversation or two about the whole Jordyn Wieber mishap that John hit the nail on the head about the other day.

I’ve also managed to catch some whitewater kayaking last night (First, I had no idea it was an Olympic sport. Secondly, it was hilariously mesmerizing with all the bobbing and weaving between those skinny poles, and the contortionist moves the contestants had to do to maneuver).

It also got me thinking, wouldn’t it be great to have more book writing competitions? I mean other than the Breakthrough Novel Award, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November, and various writing competitions around the web.

Many competitions offer money, prestige, a larger audience, and possibly some certificate, plaque, trophy, or random object that one can be photographed with. That’s all fine and good, and might possibly get national or global attention depending on how big the award is, how big the author is, and a few other factors.

A game-changing factor should be added though—televised live action, in the heat of the moment competition

I’m talking about having people locked in a room together and betting on which one cracks first. I want to see pens flying, keyboards glitching, coffee runs, and so much crumpled paper that it looks like a an incoming freshman taking a standardized test.

Smaller categories like prompts, free writes, different types of poetry, short stories, and various levels of timed writing would be happening left and right.

You’d have big name authors as commentators for the different categories, a leaning tower of pens, and lackeys running around with a cache of laptop chargers, dictionaries, thesauruses, and caffeine.

Sadly my fantasy to make writing into its own sports genre will probably never come true.

It’s a bummer, but in spite of that, there are plenty of wow-your-socks-off writing awards. Like Agatha Christie winning the Guiness Book of World Records for thickest book to add to two other world records she’s won. Christopher Paolini was honored as the ‘Youngest Author of a Bestselling Book Series’ and J.K. Rowling just has an entire page dedicated to the records she’s broken.  Not saying that the only awards that matter happen in the Guiness Book of World Records, but you have to admit that these awards are ridiculously amazing. I couldn’t believe there was a category for “oldest author to have first book published” and this dame was 100 years old!

I take a look at these and other awards broken. It’s amazing, inspiring, and gives hope to see some people reach their dream as the majority rut around in the trenches waiting for D-day.

Comparing writing a book to war may be a little bit of a stretch, but it’s afterwards that the stalemate comes. When authors try to give their words life, to share them with the world and “the man” tries to say that one isn’t known enough, or the work isn’t validated.

Then the afterward becomes a struggle, a fight to break over the water. But at least we have fantasy writing sports and the Olympics to keep us trucking on.

Alexandria Harris is a writer and recent college graduate. When she isn’t writing, watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy on repeat, or working in her father’s company, she tweets regularly on her account @_ALHarris. Alexandria lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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