When I was browsing through the big www looking for something intelligent to grab onto, I stumbled on something today that gave me the proverbial "ah-ha" moment: it's by no means new or exclusive, and this new revelation of mine isn't even what you could call blog-worthy … but it did make me think - and anything that makes a person stop what they're doing and think about it deserves a few lines in a blog. I think.


What made my thoughts pause was one single word: contest.


It's a word we see, read, even talk about from time to time. For whatever reason, though, today it made me think about something in a personal light. Why shouldn't I write a few short stories myself and keep them close at for fast, easy entry … winning one here or there would even look good on a bio page, huh?


It's not like I don't actually write the short stories. It's just that I never seem to keep them. (Instead, I figure that I've already started several other novels and really don't need this one more project - so they get scrapped.)


Do other writers get trapped inside that writing bubble of thought where the only projects are full-blown 75,000 word novels, or is this just my own exclusive thing here?


One site that has really caught my attention is justacontest.com.


My first impression, honestly, was that the site is crowded, jumbled, maybe not worth checking out. But just as those thoughts entered, a new thought came in right behind them: it reminded me somehow of my mother’s desk. (My mom was a writer, as well; she never published, but I believe she might have always held the secret desire to do so.)


My mother’s desk might have looked disorganized to anyone else, but she knew exactly where everything was. And once I took a second look at justacontest.com, it didn’t take but a couple of seconds before I felt comfortable and knew which buttons to click to get what I wanted done.


I especially appreciate the calendar-type drop-down listings of upcoming contests. You can actually go to the month you want to take a peep at & find out which contests are beginning, when they end, the prize info, and all the entry details. This might become one of my most-viewed sites.


Now that the idea has struck me to actually keep all those projects I start and categorize them into different contest sections, a whole new avenue of my writing has opened up to me; in some way I’ve always felt that because my writing niche is Native American historical fiction, writing in any other genre is cheating. Forbidden. Unheard of.


But on the other hand, NOT exploring other avenues of creative writing would be so confining to me that in time I would begin to stray anyway.


Whatever the case, that notebook I keep tucked next to my seat in the family's minivan will now be viewed as my contest notebook, where I keep notes, ideas, and the beginnings of future contest entries.


Who knows? One day I might even be able to post the blog title, " I won a writing contest!" …