View more in
Ryan Fan

I Won My First Writing Award Yesterday

Posted by 
Ryan Fan
Ryan Fan
 6 days ago

I never thought I would win any writing contests, so I was surprised that I would get one in my email yesterday morning — I would get an honorable mention in the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) in general interest online and multimedia digital content writing for websites over 100,000 unique visitors.

They sent me an e-mail that I’d won an award and to take a look at a YouTube slideshow to see what I won. However, at the time, my name wasn’t on the slideshow. I’m not sure if they just made a mistake or something, so I followed up and saw that I won an honorable mention.

I was really excited when I got the award, but a little bummed out that all I got was an honorable mention, especially because the entry fee was $30, and only placed winners would win financial awards. Obviously, it’s better than winning nothing and it was a huge validation on the quality and effort of my writing, something I do for fun and as a hobby.

However, I just realized I have no idea what to do with writing awards. It’s not like I’m trying to become a columnist or a journalist, so even though my NSNC honorable mention looks very good on my resume, I’m still a teacher full-time as my career. I have never won a writing award before so I just don’t know what to do with it.

But I’m not going to complain about the bragging rights. That’s a pretty big deal. I think the NSNC is a lot more prestigious than I’m even aware of, and I want to thank Susan Brearley for encouraging me to enter the competition or else I wouldn’t have even known about it. All I know is that looking at their panel of judges — the contests are very legit as some of the judges have won Pulitzers! And the other winners are from major news outlets.

When I first saw the contest, I intended to submit some of my satire from 2020 as some of my best work for their humor contest. However, I would be disappointed that the contest was actually only writing work from 2019, so I submitted two of my old pieces about my Asian identity last year, really not expecting anything.

As writers, we all read our old writing and say “God, why did I write it like this?” or “this stuff is absolutely horrible!” There’s nothing I’ve written past a year ago where I don’t think “this is terrible,” but I also get that that’s a pretty common reaction among writers.

For now, I’m excited and honored to have won the award, and I think I was very, very lucky too. Judges have bad days and subjective opinions, so I’m just glad that my writing was deemed good.

It’s the first writing award I’ve ever won, and a good one at that, so it was validation to all the work, effort, research, and soul I put into all of my writing. I’m glad it has resonated with so many people — and I want to say that it’s all God, not me, who gave me the grace and luck to be able to do so.

Originally published on July 11, 2020 on The Partnered Pen.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash