If you’ve spent any time with us, you’ve probably gathered that it’s Inklings Book Contest season here at Society of Young Inklings. We’ve been talking about our writing contest since January and now we’re in the final days of the submission period. As we wind down, we wanted to share the heart behind the contest. It’s not about competition—it’s about encouraging young writers.

 

A smiling mentor standing next to a youth writing contest winner holding a copy of the 2017 Inklings Book.

Mentor Loraine McCormick with Inkling Louisa Pflaum at our 2017 Inklings Book Party

 

I started Society of Young Inklings because in second grade I had the chance to meet an author and talk with her about my writing. She looked me in the eye and said, “You’re an author.” Her belief in me made me believe in myself. When I started publishing books for young readers, one half of my lifelong dream came true. Society of Young Inklings came out of the other half of my dream—finding ways to connect creative youth with pros. The Inklings Book Contest is one of the most impactful ways we make that connection.

 

Writers deal with silence all the time. It’s heartbreaking to work on a piece for months (usually years!), work up the courage to submit it to an agent or editor, and receive only silence in reply. Our mentor team understands this reality. We know how silence feels because at one point or another in our careers, we’ve all experienced it. The reality of the publishing market is that agents and editors don’t have time to reply to every submission … in fact, they can only reply to a very small percentage of what comes across their desks. We wanted our writing contest to be different. We’re delighted that the Inklings Book Contest offers us the opportunity to band together and do what no one of us could do on our own. While one of us couldn’t possibly write back to 300 applicants, a team of pro volunteers absolutely can—which means that none of our writing contest applicants will have to hear that discouraging silence. Whether they win, are a finalist, or simply receive a note of encouragement in response to their application, every writer has the opportunity to learn and grow when they take part in the Inklings Book Contest.

 

If you’re a youth writer and you haven’t already, start working on your submission and send it in by March 15. We can’t wait to hear from you. If you’re an educator, a parent, or someone who knows a creative youth who has a voice that needs to be heard, please share the Inklings Book Contest. And if you’re a creative pro and you want to be part of this amazing collaborative feedback extravaganza, let us know. We’d love to have you as part of our community.

 

We dream that each year, more youth and more pros will come together for this meaningful collaboration. We’re celebrating youth voices and creative growth. Each application that flies into our inbox is another point of connection—one youth to one pro—and we all grow and gain perspective from the process.

 

In creativity,
Naomi

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