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We’re thrilled to announce LiveJournal’s very first writing contest! With all the avid readers and writers here on LJ, we’re wondering why we didn’t do this sooner.

What’s the topic?
This non-fiction writing contest is focused around National Women’s History Month, celebrated in the United States each March to highlight the significant contributions of women to events in history. The topic should center on how women’s issues and/or women’s history have affected you personally.

What are the requirements?
We are accepting the first 1000 separate submissions fulfilling the criteria below. All submissions are subject to the contest requirements, in addition to the terms and conditions identified below:

  • Your submission must be written in English.

  • Your submission must be emailed to lj_contests@sixapart.com with “LiveJournal Non-Fiction Essay Competition” in the subject line. Please submit your entry as an attachment in .txt, .doc, or .rtf format.

  • Your submission must be your own original content, based on a true story, about how women’s issues and/or women’s history has affected you personally.

  • You submission must not have been previously published in any media formats, online (this includes your journal within LiveJournal.com) or in print.

  • Your submission must not be defamatory, offensive or obscene, and does not violate or infringe on the trademark, copyright, publicity, privacy or other rights of any third party

  • Your submission must be no longer than 1500 words.

What are the criteria for judging?
Judges will choose the submissions with the highest composite scores based on these factors:

  • Content 30%

  • Originality 30%

  • Style 20%

  • Grammar 10%

  • Spelling 10%

Who are the judges?
Our panel of judges includes 3-5 people from the LiveJournal staff.

More important, what are the prizes?
What? You want something besides the massive amount of fame you'll receive for winning? Of course you do!

There‘ll be two winners: one “Grand Prize” winner selected by us, and one “LJ Community Grand Prize” winner selected by the members of the LiveJournal community from a list of finalists that we’ll choose.

Each Grand Prize winner will receive a five hundred dollar ($500) cash prize from LiveJournal and the right to choose one out of the following four charitable organizations, to which LiveJournal will donate five hundred dollars ($500):

LiveJournal will also provide the winner with an official Award Certificate, which they can proudly display above their desk or mention on their resume or college applications. Bragging rights are included, of course.

How do I enter?
Your submissions should be sent via email to lj_contests@sixapart.com with “LiveJournal Non-Fiction Essay Competition” in the subject line. Submissions will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, on Saturday, April 7th, 2007. We’ll accept up to a thousand (1000) submissions; we can’t guarantee that we’d be able to judge any more than that.

Approximately two weeks following the deadline for submissions, we’ll post the judges’ top ten selections to the lj_contests community. Every user on LiveJournal will be able to vote for their favorite submission, and voting will close on 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, on Saturday, May 5th, 2007. The submission with the most votes will win the LJ Community Grand Prize. After the polls have been tallied, we'll announce our other Grand Prize winner and hand out the prizes!

No purchase necessary. Purchases made to LiveJournal (of a paid account, v-gifts to the judges or otherwise) will not increase your chance of winning.

What will happen to my entry?
LiveJournal reserves the right to use each entry in whole or in part however we see fit, including but not limited to quoting winning submissions in press releases, reprinting entries within LiveJournal, etc. Read the Official Promotion Rules & Regulations (the “Official Rules”) for the full details.

Eligible Contestants

(Our lawyers make us say this.)

The contest is open to individuals who are legal residents of the United States or its territories (excluding Arizona, Puerto Rico and any other jurisdiction that may require a translation of these Official Rules), who have an active e-mail account and Internet access, who are registered LiveJournal.com users, who are eighteen (18) or older as of 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, on Saturday, April 7th, 2007, and who, under applicable law, can form legally binding contracts (hereinafter legal participating individuals shall be referred to as "Participant").

Becoming a registered LiveJournal.com user is free. The Promotion is not available to any individual who has been suspended or terminated from using Sponsor's or its affiliates’ websites.

Employees of Sponsor, past employees of Sponsor, immediate family members of Sponsor’s employees, or members of the household of any such employees, or any employees of Sponsor's various affiliates, partners, their parents or subsidiaries, or employees of Sponsor’s advertising, promotion, fulfillment or other coordinating agencies, or individuals providing services to Sponsor through an outsourcer or temporary employment agency during the Promotion, are not eligible to participate in this Promotion.

By entering this Promotion, Participant agrees to these Official Promotion Rules & Regulations (the “Official Rules”) and the decisions of Sponsor, which are final and binding in all respects. This Promotion and any participation therein are void where restricted by federal, state, or local law.

Participant must have access and rights to use equipment and software that meets the technical requirements necessary to register for an account at LiveJournal.com (the “Promotion Site”).


Mar. 9th, 2007 12:34 am (UTC)
This is asinine
All the brilliant, creative writers on here and you're asking for the equivalent of a high school composition? The cause is admirable, (as is the matching donation); this contest is not ... in fact, it's an insult to people who use this community for actual intellectual debate on gender issues and other causes. Maybe next time invite an actual writer to create the contest prompt and criteria? Because this is sixth grade all over again.
Mar. 9th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
Re: This is asinine
The prompt's substantively similar to the specs for a fiction anthology or a nonfiction essay collection. Like a professional call-for-submissions, this topic's intended to provide an opportunity for a wide-ranging and diverse flavor of responses; we wanted to be as non-restrictive as possible, to allow for the maximum level of flexibility and creativity. And also like professional markets, not every market is to every writer's taste, but we'll continue to offer a number of various prompts and contests as the year progresses, and perhaps you'll feel more inspired by something in the future!
Mar. 9th, 2007 01:15 am (UTC)
Re: This is asinine
Again, I respect the intent behind the contest and those who will benefit from it. However, as an editor of nonfiction anthologies and a professor of non-fiction writing, I still think this could have been worded in a way to initiate more complex explorations of women and society. Having created prompts (and evaluated essays) for university and high school exams, I maintain that you will get a lot of VERY similar pieces -- the best essays will inevitably be those whose work shows no evidence of the original prompt. Thank you, though, for your response.
Mar. 9th, 2007 01:56 am (UTC)
Re: This is asinine
Then I suspect we simply have differing experiences of market guidelines; academic writing is far different than what we're looking for here. LJ's about the personal touch, and about the immediacy and authenticity of personal experience. There's a certain level of privilege inherent in academic writing and academic markets that runs contrary to the sort of platform we offer. Sure, complex explorations of women and society are grand, but setting that sort of prompt is exclusionary; there's plenty of that type of content on LJ, sure, and I love reading it, but for a community with so many diverse voices, the more inclusive the better.

As I mentioned, not all markets are suitable for all writers, and it appears as though you'd be more comfortable in an academic writing environment rather than in a popular market; we appear to have differing opinions on the purpose of this contest. We're not trying to be an academic journal; we're looking for personal experience and reflection, as is suited for a personal journaling site.

Alternately, you can of course submit something on the topic of your choosing, as long as it's loosely associated with the prompt; the generic nature of the spec that you're complaining about is designed to allow for that very leeway. And we've gotten quite a number of high-quality submissions so far!
Mar. 9th, 2007 02:14 am (UTC)
Re: This is asinine
I teach, edit and write personal essays as well as more conventional academic work. This isn't about where I'm "comfortable" (?) or a "market" -- obviously LJ isn't academic, and that's a GOOD thing. If you look at my original comment, I thought that the prompt was TOO academic, in a reductive way.

I've said my piece; obviously I won't see any but the winning submissions, so I'll have to take your word for it. I have faith that the writers on LJ will do great things, like they always do ... I just humbly suggest that next time the prompt look less like a college admission essay.
Mar. 9th, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC)
Re: This is asinine
Just curious, but since you are a professional writer, what would look like the prompt that you would have written?
Mar. 9th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
Re: This is asinine
That's a very fair question, but its hard for me to answer because I object to the central terms, "women's issues" and "women's history" (although I realize the latter comes from the national commemoration, not the prompt writers). Birth control, parental leave, sexual harassment, etc., are issues that affect all genders ... that said, I think even playing with the personal and political implications of term "women's history" might have been more interesting.

This answer may seem like a copout, but I don't want to make this into a caption contest. I regret the heading of my initial comment ("this is asinine"), but stand by my opinion.
Mar. 14th, 2007 12:41 am (UTC)
Re: This is asinine
Funny. Their wording is exactly the wording of my last essay assignment in my class.
Mar. 30th, 2007 07:17 pm (UTC)
Re: This is asinine
Personally, I feel that we can explore the gender issue in an intellectual way if we consider it a personal battle. It can be done so in a way that is both personal and academic at the same time -- especially if you are someone in academia.