Winners' Circle: Anita Palmeri Overgaard
December 26, 2020
Welcome to the Winners' Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL and IFW Contest winners. Today we're celebrating winner Anita Palmeri Overgaard! Her poem "Some Days" came in Third Place in our Silver Linings Poetry Contest.
What contest was your winning entry submitted to?
Silver Linings Poetry Contest
How many writing contests have you entered?
Please give the title of your entry and a short summary of the poem.
My poem, “Some Days”, tells how my days are “lined” differently. Some days are lined with itchy tweed, some with fleece and a cup of tea, some with flip flops and a good book. Some days are just bad, so I have to dig deep into the silver mine of my own heart and soul. That’s where I find gratitude. That’s where I find every silver lining.
What inspired your winning entry?
I was feeling pretty low and grumpy in the spring of 2020, therefore I was not looking forward to writing about silver linings. My first draft was REALLY negative, so I’m glad I chose to “dig deep” to revise it and enter the contest. Lo and behold, the act of digging deep and not giving up on entering produced the silver lining of third place.
How has entering this contest helped your writing?
I don’t know if entering the contest improved my writing, but it definitely boosted my confidence. I felt like a winner when I hit the Submit button, so winning third place was like receiving a Pulitzer!
How did the critique in the Winners' Workshop help you?
I’ve never had anyone talk about my writing publicly, so that alone was uplifting and exciting. And I loved reading and listening to other people’s work. I wish I could read every entry. I think it is fascinating to see how each person’s gift of creativity makes a single topic come to life in unique ways.
Are you a full-time writer? If not, what is your "day job"?
I am an at-home mom with two freshman daughters, one in college and one in high school. I was an elementary school teacher for 18 years before having kids. I can’t say I’m a full-time writer. I’m more of a part-time writer. I am enrolled in the ICL course “Writing for Children and Teens”, and I am enjoying learning and working on my assignments. I’m also a member of SCBWI and 12 x 12, where I take advantage of online learning opportunities.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing more seriously in the last year, but for decades I have been hovering around it, starting picture book manuscripts, wanting to splash into the water yet only dipping in my toes.
What will you do with your piece now that it's been recognized?
Hmm. I don’t really have a plan for it. I guess I should make one!
Any fun plans for the prize money?
I had some head shots taken, and I will put the rest toward online professional development.
What do you do when you're feeling discouraged or blocked? Do you have any tips for your fellow writers?
I often have a hard time getting started on things that intimidate me, so I force myself to set a timer and work until the timer goes off, even if it is just for thirty minutes. I’m usually moving along when the timer rings, so I keep going. I also tell myself that writing anything is better than writing nothing, even if it is bad.
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?
I would go to Garnet Linden’s yard sale, the main character in Elizabeth Enright’s Thimble Summer, and I would buy the silver thimble that she found in the dried-up river bed. It would be a special addition to my collection of over two hundred thimbles. (Although having Strega Nona’s magic pasta pot would be pretty great at dinner time.)
Anything else you'd like to say about your experience with ICL and IFW?
I am enjoying my work with ICL, especially learning to write stories for magazines, and I look forward to all of my future assignments!
Are you our next contest winner? There's $1,300 of prize money up for grabs! Check out our current contests on our Contests Page.