Monday, August 22, 2011

Why I Don't Enter Writing Contests

I have entered a few writing contests--with mixed results--but a while ago I vowed to never enter another one. I could offer a lengthy and elaborate explanation but I think that a few representative quotes taken from the 2011 Chess Journalists of America Awards Committee Final Report vividly illustrate some of the problems associated with such contests; here are the stylings of Ramon A. Hernandez, Awards Committee Chairman and Chief Judge of the CJA Annual Journalism Awards:

Once again the competition bought in several new members and return a few others who had been out the membership for a while. The entire membership should not expect the awards competition to serve as the principal method for recruiting new members nor as the sole means of revenue. To believe so on any case is setting the organization as a whole for complete financial failure.


I ended last year stating, I can with comfort note this year's competition was at minimum well done and a reward of a testament of having conducted it. My core goal of being and keeping the awards competition impartial, ethical and transparent were met and at times excelled. I, I can sleep well, to my fellow awards judges a giant thank you to each and to our president thank you for your communication and outstanding leadership.


I know with a shadow of doubt that the committee and I have done an excellent job and I continue to sleep well. Any negative comment anyone can concoct is in the minority when compared to the enormous amount of praise this committee has received.

What exactly do such awards signify if the Committee Chairman struggles to write coherently? Hernandez' prose is littered with grammatical errors, poor word choices and awkward sentence construction; I am not interested in having my work judged by someone who desperately needs some instruction regarding the most basic writing techniques.

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