Contest Winner

Laura Thomas - IFW Contest Winner

Laura Thomas

Winning Entry: THE NEST OF NOW

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Welcome to the Winners Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL and IFW Contest winners. Today we celebrate with Laura Thomas whose essay THE NEST OF NOW took the top spot in our IFW Essay to My Younger Self Contest! Way to go, Laura!

Laura Thomas - headshotWhat contest was your winning entry submitted to?

Essay to My Younger Self

How many writing contests have you entered?

I’ve only ever entered a handful of contests before… this may now change!

Please give  the title of your entry and a short summary of the story.

“The Nest of Now” is an essay written to my 32-year-old self, who is utterly exhausted yet entirely content as a mom of 3 young children—with no idea that she will one day follow her secret dream of being an author.

As a current empty nester, I encourage my younger self to pay attention to the present, to embrace the “nest of now”, and when the time is right, to pursue her passion and write.

What inspired your winning entry? 

Writing to my younger self was easy—I knew I would encourage her to squeeze every ounce of joy and delight in the season of being a young mom, and not give up on her buried writing dream. I hoped this essay might be a source of encouragement for others currently in the trenches of life.

How has entering this contest helped your writing?
Most of my writing is fiction, but I always find it beneficial to flex my non-fiction writing muscles, and this topic was especially rewarding.

How did the critique in the Winners Workshop help you?
The general critique was both informative and encouraging—it was fascinating to hear exactly what the judge was looking for and why. Personally, I was humbled and honored to hear such beautiful affirmations in the critique of my essay, and you can bet I have written them all down to refer back to on a rainy rejection day!

Are you a full-time writer? If not, what is your “day job”?

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Yes, I have the joy of being a full-time writer!

How long have you been writing?
My writing journey began very slowly as I wrote in the cracks of time available with my first Institute of Children’s Literature course in 2006.

What will you do with your piece now that it’s been recognized?
I would like to post it on my blog, where it’s available for anyone to read and perhaps be encouraged to embrace their current season while holding on to their dream.

Any fun plans for the prize money?
I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do with my prize money yet, but I suspect it will be something bookish!

What do you do when you’re feeling discouraged or blocked? Do you have any tips for your fellow writers?
I have the luxury/ nightmare of writing in several genres, so when the words aren’t flowing, I can jump into a different project for a while and usually find that works. Deadlines (self-imposed if necessary) help me to focus on the task at hand, and I also find reading someone else’s beautiful writing very inspirational. Otherwise, walking my needy French bulldog in the fresh air or stress-baking in my kitchen does the trick!

If you could go to the yard sale of any character in the history of children’s literature, whose would you go to, and what would you buy?

As a huge Beatrix Potter fan, I would go to Peter Rabbit’s yard sale and buy his little blue jacket with brass buttons!

Anything you’d like to share about your IFW experience?

I can’t say enough about ICL—I began my writing journey with a heart for story and zero experience or qualifications. I was able to take courses with ICL at my own pace, which gave me the tools and confidence I needed to achieve my dream career as a published author!

Will you be our next contest winner? Discover our current writing contests here!

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1000 N. West Street #1200, Wilmington, DE 19801

© 2024 Direct Learning Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. 

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