Let me start by congratulating the cmonionline writing community on one year of being part of our essay competition. As you know this essay competition started about one year ago when we announced the topics for week 1 on the 23rd of August 2020. Since then we have consistently written for 36 weeks and paid out over N700,000, exceeding our initial target of half a million. All thanks to the support from friends and judges some of whom I haven’t even met offline.
I am very proud of what we have achieved. They say the best ideas are often the simplest ones. That’s why I try to keep things simple. At the beginning of this journey, I didn’t think it would be this easy to get judges. Nevertheless, I approached friends who have shown interest in literary works and was blown away by their tremendous support. In our struggling economy, only special individuals will leave their hectic schedule to do an unpaid job for hours and even donate financially too. I am eternally grateful.
When we welcomed the year 2021, we reviewed our journey and set some objectives for the year. You can read the post here. So far we have had one zoom session. We did improve the feedback mechanism and I want to believe that we have read many books even if not 50. More importantly, we attained a level of consistency by writing every week. It never got easier, rather we just got better. It is only our first year and we still have a long journey ahead to work on the areas that require development.
So in this second year, we will look to build on the consistency gained by improving the quality of our writing. We will now focus more on brushing up the basic writing principles like spelling, grammar, and syntax. Essays that fail the writing basics will no longer be published. We will also be reading more to develop an eye for what effective writing looks like. And finally, we will be having more interactions via social media, zoom sessions, and possibly offline meetings.
In this regard, we have come up with the following changes.
- The writing period will now be for two weeks with a word count of (1500 )± 10%. for the first half of each month. There will be another with a word count of (2500) ± 10% for the second half of the month.
- For the first half, a total sum of N30,000 cash price will be paid at N10,000 each to three winners, two from the creative writing category and one from the opinion category.
- And for the second half, a total sum of N60,000 cash will be paid at N20,000 each to three winners, two from the creative writing category and one from the research category.
- We will try and hold a zoom session or an offline meeting at the end of each quarter. We need to enhance interpersonal relationships. It will also help us assess our progress and make suggestions.
Please note that some of these changes reflect the realization that a higher percentage of our writers are more inclined to creative writing. Moreover, it will afford both writers and judges more time to optimize the given task.
And like I keep repeating, the weekly price money is good because N10k or N20k can come in handy, especially for those without any source of income. However, your goal should not be to earn but to keep writing. That is the only way to achieve our long-term goal of creating better readers, writers, and thinkers.
Now here is an important message!
Most of us rarely share our work. I know this may partly be due to some insecurities but if your work is good enough to be published here please know that you are doing well.
You see everyone has a story but not everyone can write. The reason is simple, writing is hard work and no writer is under any other illusion. Few things make a writer more anxious than facing a blank page. And this includes your favourite bestselling authors. So if you took the pains to create 1500 words of prose why shouldn’t you be proud to share it widely?
By so doing you do not only market yourself but you also bring your unique ideas/narrative to a wider audience and consequently contribute to the discourse in the public sphere. Whatsmore, the criticism, commendation, and support you receive are all pedestals to getting better. And remember to ask your audience to give some feedback. From this engagement comes cooperation and ultimately partnership. It is always easier when we walk/work together. So please share your stories with pride.
Read about building your platform as a writer here.
Once again, we thank you all for your support. Please keep supporting our noble cause, we appreciate and pray that God will replenish your resources a millionfold. Next up will be the new topics for creative short stories and research essays. So join us, let’s have fun together growing and rewarding our intellect.