John Achor

John Achor: Won Any Contests Lately?

First, I’ll dazzle you with fancy footwork and a success story. I used my tall tail, “The Grand Adventure; First Person Feline,” in the first contest I ever entered. It won first place in the Board of Directors category ― the top contest at the conference. Along with a certificate, I received real cash money. I sat back and said, “This contest thing ain’t so tough.”

Since that day, I’ve been recognized at several conferences and in multiple categories. Now, the rest of the story.

Filled with bravado, I submitted my story to the major national cat magazines. One editor said, “We do not print stories written by cats.” So much for a sense of humor. The story was a lark; however, it contained a number of dumb mistakes a pet owner can and did make on a trip from Arizona to Arkansas. And she was the polite one.

“The Grand Adventure …” has been entered in other contests and venues. It was never recognized again, not even with an Honorable Mention.


Judges are human with all the attendant frailties and life problems ― got up on the wrong side of the crib; significant other made lousy coffee today; flat tire on the way to the judging …

What is a boy to do? I could sit down and cry over spilled milk (what a terrible cliché, especially for a cat story) or I could continue writing and sending them in.

So, the answer is: keep honing your best work; keep submitting; and don’t ever stop ― and maybe, just maybe you’ll run into that cat-loving judge.

John Achor’s writing assignments have appeared in a variety of publications such as Good Old Days, The Storyteller and Writers’ Journal, and he has sold over two dozen articles to Computer Pilot Magazine. He also has published two mystery novels in the Casey Fremont series.

He was a pilot in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years, and following that, became a private consultant, trainer and instructor with a community college in Phoenix, Arizona. John and his wife Pat moved to Hot Springs Village ten years ago where he can concentrate on his writing; they are allowed to share their house with two cats, Lexus and Betsy Ross. / / Facebook / Twitter


Do you have a writing contest story?


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