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This is Why You're Not Winning Vocal Challenges

by Rui Alves 14 days ago in advice

I have joined 30 Vocal challenges so far. This is what I’ve learned from asking the same questions on your mind

This is Why You're Not Winning Vocal Challenges
Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

Vocal challenges are on everyone's mind these days, and Vocal creators should enroll in the Vocal+ Member program here to make sure they aren't missing out on all the buzz and great cash prizes.

Thus, consider supporting our community of creators by becoming a Vocal+ member and start submitting your amazing stories right now. You will never win a Vocal challenge if you are too afraid of facing failure and join the competition.

I've submitted dozens of stories to Vocal challenges and failed to win every time, but that will never dissuade me from joining the fun and be an active member of this guild of extraordinary creators.

However, with all the hype, you will need to buckle up and realize you are about to walk on the shoulders of giants. When entering a competition, you’re no longer writing for your drawer, your writing will have expert eyes on it, and you should be ready to deal with feelings of failure and defeat.

I’m writings this piece because I’ve been there, seen that, and moved on. These words come straight from personal experience and fruitful brainstorming with other writers. Thus, I hope my findings may help you on your journey.

5 Reasons to Join Vocal Challenges

Hereunder, I’ve outlined in hindsight a series of arguments in favor of entering Vocal challenges.

  1. Challenges help you get out of your comfort zone because there will be instructions and a topic to follow. You get to stretch those lazy writing muscles to meet the deadline as you go up against some of the best voices out there.
  2. Writing prompts improve writing pace by promoting energy bursts. Your track record will improve in time, and you will notice you’ve bulked up your endurance as a writer.
  3. Joining new challenges enhances your creativity as you get to listen to new voices from within yourself that otherwise would remain silent forever. For instance, if you are a long-form fiction writer, why don’t you join a poetry competition. Who knows, maybe you’ll finally connect with your inner Shakesperean surrogate.
  4. You get to learn from others. Writing for Vocal challenges will develop connections and build a sense of community.
  5. Last but not least, you can win thousands of dollars, and that’s something you don’t want to miss.

That last point on my list is the trigger for this piece. I’m by heart an introvert struggling against my true self towards unleashing my voice into the world. Hence, I’ve only recently challenged myself to take part in writing competitions.

I’ve joined thirty Vocal challenges starting from November 2020, and I’ve never been close to winning. I also never made it to the runner-up position or third place in any competition.

At this point, the low self-esteem may start to kick in; hence I’ve recently created a forum for debating and brainstorming about how creators can improve their chances of winning a Vocal challenge. This think-tank includes some of my closest friends and fellow creators from my Facebook group: Vocal Media Creators Guild. Our findings prompted this article.

Why do I Fail at Vocal Challenges?

First things first. There’s no failing or losing when you join a writing challenge. The ultimate takeaway comes from realizing how even if you don’t score that big chunk of gold on the other side of the rainbow. We are all collecting little white pebbles along the way that will help us further down the road to find our way and guide us across the writer’s labyrinth.

Does my writing suck?

At some point, all of us joining the think tank brainstorming had that feeling. We all experienced the low self-esteem wave that engulfs you after spending long hours, days, or even weeks drafting a stellar piece to perfection. Only to watch with weary eyes your dreams crumble because your name isn’t among the winners.

Cleanse your mind from those thoughts, our stories are our children, and every child on earth is the most perfect, beautiful, little wonder to a parent. It would help if you always cherished your stories no matter what, instead of falling into depression because of them. Please remember how beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.

“One man’s toxic sludge is another man’s potpourri. “ — Grinch

Am I utterly unlucky?

Some look at challenges and swear that it’s all a matter of luck and that, ultimately, they are just the utterly unluckiest person on earth, and they will never make it because of bad karma or because the fault is in our stars.

There’s a certain degree of luck in any challenge; I’ll give you that. It helps when you get the right set of eyes looking at the competition. Maybe you’ll get lucky, and something in your piece resonates at that moment in time with that person in the jury.

However, luck doesn’t repeat itself. A bolt of lightning never strikes the same place twice. Thus, it’s not because of the uncertainty of chance that you aren’t winning any Vocal challenges.

“You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help.”― Bill Watterson

How to Stay Motivated

Keep challenging yourself. The ultimate prize is not the leprechaun pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You’ll come to realize there’s more value in those little white pebbles you find along the black tourmaline road.

When you listen to your muse and decide to follow the writer’s way, there’s no turning back. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, listen to your heart because, from then on, you will also be chasing rainbows on the back of unicorns for most of your life.

By Dmytro Lopatin on Unsplash

3 Key Takeaways for Vocal Creators

American poet Mary Oliver gave us instructions for living a fulfilling creator's life and write stories that win Vocal challenges:

  1. Pay attention: Listen to your inner voice and energize yourself. Look at your surroundings and breathe in all the wonders of the world.
  2. Be astonished: Let the wonder inspire you, and you are halfway there to greatness.
  3. Tell about it: Don’t let failure get to you. Please follow the white pebbles I’ve just laid out for you. Write your heart out and tell the world about it.


Thanks for reading this article. Please consider supporting our community of creators by becoming a Vocal+ Member. Feel free to come back at any time and pick up another thread from my Vocal book of content by clicking here. Small tips and big hearts are highly appreciated. Till next time, cheers. - Rui

Rui Alves
Rui Alves
Read next: Why Denny's Is the Perfect Starter Job for a Cook
Rui Alves

I write to find the surrogate writer in me.

Rui is a graduate of the University of Porto, teacher, and life-coach.

He is also a partner of Rock n’Heavy and the founder of ZENite.

See all posts by Rui Alves

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