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My Experience With Power of the Pen - 2016-2017

My Experience With Power of the Pen

Going into the competition, I felt unprepared. It didn’t matter how much I practiced my writing, I didn’t feel like I would do well. I had stayed after school to practice almost every Friday for quite a few weeks, probably around 5, to 4;00 P.M. It didn’t matter; I felt like I would do terrible.

Mrs. Knight brought up the idea. She first told me about the competition, then later asked if I was going to participate. I agreed to because I felt that I could do well in it and at least have the experience from it to improve on my writing skills. The practices were 40 minutes of writing; the same amount of time that we would get at the competition.

The district tournaments were at Chardon Middle School in February. The whole team left early in the morning and arrived not long after. When we got to the school, we signed in and found a place to put our belongings. Then, we had orientation, which mainly just explained the rules and the schedule for the day. After orientation, everyone dispersed to their assigned room.

It didn’t take me long to find my first room. It wasn’t far from where the room we were in previously. I got in there and waited with five other people for the prompt to be given. “The Choice: use this as the central idea for your story.” That first prompt didn’t sound too difficult to me. It didn’t end up being hard to come up with an idea for, either.

In the atmosphere and with the time limit, there was no brainstorming ideas; no writing rough drafts and refining them; you had to start writing and write whatever sounded best first. After the first round, I felt as though I already failed. The second round didn’t make me feel much better, either. Third round I almost knew I had done my worst.

After the actual writing part, there was an around two hours break/lunch period where the participants just waited for the judges to decide. After that period, there was the award ceremony. No one on the team placed.

On the bus ride back to the school, the team discussed how they felt about their writing. We discussed our rankings and scores in each round, and from those we concluded that two of us, Ashley and I, had possibly qualified for the regional tournament.

A few weeks later, at another one of our short meetings, we received the list of people moving on; Ashley, Rachel, and I. A few weeks after that, we continued or practices and figured out ways in which we could improve our writing. We mainly just tried to strengthen our writing skills and come up with different ways to make up a plot in a more efficient manner.

Not too long ago, Ashley and I competed in the regional tournament at Hudson Middle School. That experience was just about the same as the district competition, only I felt and still feel like I did horrible.

Overall, the experience of competing against so many other people was extremely beneficial. It gave me ways to improve my writing and the confidence that I can make quick decisions. The support of the team and the teachers is what helped me even more. I would suggest to other people to compete in Power of the Pen as well. The experience changed the way I write, and it was for the better. I believe that it could do the same for other young writers.