I’m a big supporter of the Writers of the Future contest (regardless of my thoughts about L. Ron Hubbard) as a venue for aspiring writers. For those not familiar with it, Writers of the Future is the largest and (arguably) the most prestigious contest for amateur speculative fiction writers. It’s been won by a who’s who list of well-known and award-winning writers, including Stephen Baxter, Karen Joy Fowler, Jay Lake, Patrick Rothfuss, and Robert Reed.
The contest is only open to “amateur” writers, which the contest defines as writers with no more than three pro-rate or SFWA-qualifying sales. The recent sale of my story “My Mask, Humanity” to Daily Science Fiction is my fourth to a SFWA-qualified market. As such, it will disqualify me from the Writes of the Future contest as soon as it appears.
Getting disqualified from this contest has been a long-standing goal, and while I’d still like to win it, I’m not disappointed by “proing” out, as it’s known among contest regulars. My ultimate goal is to write fiction for a living, and consistently selling to pro-rate publications is required to do that. No longer being eligible for Writers of the Future (without having won it, that is) will be disappointing, but I look at this way: I am no longer a Writer of the Future; I am now a Writer of the Now.