RECOGNITION OF SWISSVALE'S UP-AND-COMING TALENT
We would like to recognize and congratulate P.R. for his accomplishments in the field of creative writing. He is a local young man who has been presented with several awards from the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest. This contest is held every year through the Carnegie Library and is open to Allegheny County teens grades 9 – 12. We've asked P to tell us a little bit about his experience with the contest. Here is what he had to say:
Up until I first glimpsed the flier for the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest, I hadn’t been a very committed writer. Sure, I’d written stuff before. I’d even written the first draft of a novel, but that’d taken me forever to finish, because I only wrote when I felt like it (translation: not very often). I’d never worked with deadlines or submitted my writing before.
The Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest changed all that. I knew that if I even wanted a chance at winning, I needed to finish and revise a story in less than a month. So I threw myself into the messy task, working on my submission every day until the deadline -- then I submitted.
After the deadline zipped by me, I realized, “Hey, I wrote every day for a month, and that wasn’t so bad! Why don’t I keep writing like this all the time?” The progress I made in that one month inspired me to try and write something every day -- even if I’d rather be doing other things, even if I could only write a tiny bit.
Thanks to my new writing habits -- and the support of my teachers, friends, and family -- I won honorable mention. But not in the way I expected. The story I wrote, which I thought was the greatest thing since the birth of the YA novel, was declined. (In retrospect, I don’t blame the Ralph Munn Editorial Committee -- that story stank.) Yet the poem that I thought wouldn’t stand a chance got published in the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology 2013.
I submitted to the contest again in 2014 and 2015. Each time, my submissions won honorable mention. The more I submitted, the more my writing improved. With each submission, I knew I had to get brutal when revising. Sometimes I’ve needed to explore alternate endings, cut down the word count, and murder my darlings -- all to make sure I’d done my best before submitting.
Each year, I was invited to attend the Teen Media Awards. Plus, I received a copy of the current Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology, which contained my published work. It’s incredibly gratifying to see your writing in print, to be able to hold the book in your hands. But in order to do that, first you’ll need to do three things -- start writing, finish whatever you’re writing, and submit it. It takes a lot of grit to commit to your writing and a lot of guts to send out your work to be judged. But it will pay off.
If you’re a teen writer in Pittsburgh, the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest is a great opportunity for sharing your creations.