I am very excited to be entering ‘Next Big Thing,’ the annual amateur wine writing competition of Bauer ACP Gourmet Traveler (GT) Wine magazine. This is the fourth year running for the competition. I am entering as a way to better focus on more serious wine writing than just blogging through SAZ in the Cellar. While I do not expect to win, I would not be entering if I did not think I had a chance to be competitive.
The entries must be in by 9 January, 2013 and the entry limited to 1,000 words. All the details and guidance are provided in the links above and here. You may wonder why I am alerting others to this as it will only increase the competition. The reason is that I want to be supportive of everyone increasing their enjoyment in the wine and its related lifestyle and by being part of and more knowledgeable of wine and wine-related experiences. I also want to be more encouraging to anyone who wants to write and share ideas and knowledge with others.
I do not consider my knowledge to be my own or sourced from within. We all learn from each other and are better for it. Plus it increases the community of people we can learn from and share with. My friend Blake Stevens, author of Still Stupid at Sixty wrote a blog post about the larger value of exchanging ideas than money which really struck home with me. I want to live and fulfill that idea which is why I encourage others to write, even if in direct competition to me. I do value the way I might interpret and articulate material and am therefore very much behind copyright protection and respecting peoples ability to monetize their efforts. But the main reason I write is to share and engage with others.
I have five weeks to finish and submit my entry. I am starting this weekend as I have an idea already and I want to see if it works. But there is a lot more to do in terms of positioning a winning entry. I need to ensure it is a fun topic in which the judges can engage and enjoy, I need to validate a lot of facts and make sure it is accurate (not something I always do with my blog posts, but I know them to be directionally correct and factual), and I need to really ensure the writing itself is of high quality, concise and well structured, and well edited and proofed. (This is something I also do to some extent, but not thoroughly, with my blog posts – if I did, they would take several more hours each instead of the typical 30 – 60 minutes to write.)
So wish me luck on my submission, and if you know anyone who may be interested to submit also, please share this information with them!