|by Mary Whalen|
I always assumed that writers enter the competition so that they can list their awards on their resume. I also assumed that winning awards helps writers gain authority in the field and gives them a sense of accomplishment and validation. What I didn't realize was how intense of a learning experience the competition can be for entrants.
Each entry is reviewed by a team of judges. Each judge pours hours into reviewing each entry in detail, completing a six-page evaluation form with detailed comments in every applicable assessment area (there are about 30 assessment areas!). Team leaders review evaluations to make sure that judges have given helpful, constructive feedback, and teams determine an award recommendation for each entry. Then the competition committee reviews entries and evaluations and makes sure that the judges have been thorough, consistent, and accurate.
How often is there a chance to get access to such detailed personalized feedback on your work from multiple professional peers? If you view the competition as a training experience or as a consulting service, its a bargain. If your department budget is being set this month, it might be the time to start asking your boss to set aside the funds.
A couple people from our chapter deserve a huge thank you for almost a full year of work they put into the competition: Cynthia Laughlin and Cheri Noble. Their responsibilities for the competition have cost them hours upon hours of their personal time, and the STC Chicago competition could not have happened without them. Elizabeth Burke and Mary Kay Gruenberg also played key roles as members of the Senior Review Team, and many others lent their time and talents to participating as judges.
I hope that you'll consider entering the competition in 2013. For more information on the process, visit the STC Competition page on the STC Chicago website.