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This week: Spotlight on lilli_in_flEdited by: Jayne
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It’s easy to say, “go enter this contest” or “take part in this activity”. The truth is contests can intimidate even seasoned members. Whether it’s fear of competition, fear of making a mistake with contest rules, or plain old imposter syndrome, we often bury things in our portfolios instead of getting involved.
Sometimes it has nothing to do with fear. The reality is not every contest suits every writer, and not every writer is motivated by the same prompt, reward, or requirements.
By putting faces to the stories behind the contests, and providing greater insight into what’s available to WdC members, I hope to tamp down some apprehension about entering contests and provide our writers with new avenues to challenge themselves.
While answering questions over email, Lilli ☕️ 🧿 broaches her favourite subject. “Coffee is a gift I give myself,” she muses, taking a sip between sentences. “It says, Here’s something to make your day a little better. Please don’t get arrested.”
Behind the gauzy veil of her wry wit is a down-to-earth, generous, community-minded member of the WdC family. Her obsession with caffeine isn’t an act, and her use of the coffee motif provides insight into an analytical and detail-oriented mind, well-versed in the art of personal branding. A visit to her port turns up a curated selection of coffee-themed covers. Her first of many commissioned merit badges, Coffee With Lilli, remains a popular reward. She took it a step further with the second cup: her Coffee Award has expanded into a coordinated Awardicon set. Although she’s peppered her give-away collection with a variety of images, it’s the love of coffee that stuck, earning her “The Queen of Coffee” crown. She carries the title with pride; legend tells she even wears a delicate tiara while sipping her morning brew.
"Coffee is a gift I give myself. It says,
Here's something to make your day a little better.
Please don't get arrested."
Maybe the caffeine is giving her a boost, but Lilli ☕️ 🧿 is busy. It’s not the detrimental busy-ness leading to a stack of half-finished tasks; Lilli ☕️ 🧿 gets stuff done. Motivated to start sooner than most, within her first two months she had her contest, the "Holiday Short Story Contest - closed" , up and running. “I knew I wanted to get involved and make more friends. I immediately saw ‘community’ here and wanted to participate and pay it forward.” Shortly thereafter, her popular "Question of the Day!" opened up.
In her pre-WdC life, she ran a well-received “Today in History” Newsletter, and used her experience when designing "Question of the Day!" . “My goal when I started it was to respond to everyone that invested their time to read and answer. As a result, I have met and made some lovely friends.”
Providing original experiences for herself and WdC members was one element behind the "Holiday Short Story Contest - closed" . Designed to celebrate obscure or uncelebrated holidays, she states her intent was to direct the focus away from the mainstream holidays. "There are some wacky holidays out there and many make wonderful writing prompts”.
I immediately saw 'community' here
and wanted to participate and pay it forward."
As time went on, she floated many ideas for contests and activities. Often they worked well, other times, not so much. When asked how she handles the ones that didn’t make the cut, she’s unbothered: “Well, I don’t take it personally. Not every idea is going to be a winner - that’s just life. Sometimes it’s best to take a step back, reorganize, and move on.” That’s pretty sound advice for the entire community, whether you’re a contest owner or entrant.
Reorganizing isn’t something she does often, as she sets out to tackle her contests and activities with a plan. “I do plan out in advance because some of them revolve around holidays or calendar events,” she says, “and if I have things going on in my life and I know I'm busy, I won’t run as many events.” It’s one reason Lilli ☕️ 🧿 is rarely forgetting things or backlogged with judging. She’s very much an ‘on-time, on-budget’ person. She stresses, “It’s important to get things done in a timely manner and when you promise them.” But even in a time crunch, she’ll do a quick “pop-up” newsfeed contest - "The Random Poetry Contest" . "They don’t last as long, so if I know I will have time, I throw it out there.”
"Not every idea is going to be a winner - that's just life. Sometimes it's best to take a step back,
reorganize, and move on"
Her planning formula is working. She has a veritable stable of contests and activities besides the "Holiday Short Story Contest - closed" , "Question of the Day!" , and "The Random Poetry Contest" . There's her "Promptly Poetry Challenge" , with its challenge a week, the very specific "Friday the 13th Celebration - CLOSED" and "Christmas in July Poetry Contest(CLOSED)" . The "Rising to the Challenge!" , caters specifically to black cases, and she also runs "Monsters Under The Bed" , with its tales of nursery rhymes gone wrong, and "Write from the Heart - Poetry (CLOSED)" , an inherited romance contest. This February, she launched "Exploring Love - CLOSED" , a flash fiction contest based on the eight classifications of ancient Greek love.
Despite the administrative commitment, her natural tendency towards organization makes the time pass quickly. Lilli says she doesn’t prefer behind-the-scenes task to the actual prompts and entries; she appreciates them equally. She gets an adrenaline rush from building or overhauling the look of a contest, generating new prompts, and advertising on the newsfeed. The participant’s excitement drives her own enthusiasm. “My favorite part of running contests and activities is the excitement it generates. I love reading the entries and seeing how creative everyone here is. Some people will take a prompt to places I never see coming.” It’s the exchange of ideas that fuels her own creativity and helps set her limitations. “I want to run activities and contests that I have a personal interest in. If I am interested in a specific topic or idea, it’s just more fun to explore and learn about. Enthusiasm can be contagious.” Participation levels for her contests and activities bear that sentiment out.
"Enthusiasm can be contagious."
Lilli ☕️ 🧿's passion doesn’t stop at the door of her own success. Dedicated to giving back to the community, she commissions most of the image sets for her contests from WdC members, providing a showcase for the artwork and gving each contest its own unique feel. Going further, she runs "Spreading Rays of Sunshine CLOSED" , a non-profit event where a member can purchase one of Lilli’s ultra-exclusive badges - but only for another member, gifted to someone who has brightened that member’s day. Then there’s "The Pay it Forward Giveaway - Closed" , “because kindness should be shared”, where she rewards members for donating to any WdC group, not just her own.
She acknowledges the importance of fundraising, saying, “It can’t be denied that fundraising is sometimes necessary. Contests and activities can get expensive so I am always grateful to receive help”. In the same breath, she emphasizes donations are never an expectation, and members can help in many ways that don’t require them to dig into their gps. Her list of items as essential as donations? “Spreading the word through newsfeed posts, telling their WdC buddies, and supporting contests/activities with their entries/participation.”
For any members hesitant to enter her contests, she offers some thoughts on her style. “Everyone is unique and their writing is a reflection of that. I read entries with an open mind and let the author take me on the journey.” Having entered many contests herself, she knows the self-doubt that can impede the words from hitting the page or even linger long after an author’s completed a piece. For that, she leaves with some wisdom: “There are many very talented people here. Some of them don’t even realize how well they write. Don’t try to write to or for a judge. Be your own best self.”
"Don't try to write to or for a judge.
Be your own best self."
Lilli ☕️ 🧿's Contests
Nursery Rhymes already have some sketchy backstories, but can you turn one into something clearly dark, twisted, and scary?
A unique take on the romance genre, this flash-fiction's prompt rotates between the eight forms of Greek love. A brand-new contest, so go show it a little love and give it wings!
Write a poem with beautiful imagery and bring a prompt to life. Do you have what it takes to tug on a few heartstrings?
Get ready for the next uncelebrated holiday! You'll have a great prompt to work with.
Mark your calendars! You get to celebrate Christmas twice a year, only with prompts that force you to think outside the sleigh.
Part of the Rising Stars program, this contest is specifically for "black case" members. Are you toting a black suitcase? Keep an eye out for this one to reopen.
Lilli ☕️ 🧿's Activities:
Extremely popular, highly interactive, and featuring thought-provoking questions, it's a great place to get to know other members. Your answer can be as simple or detailed as you want. You're guaranteed to get a reply from Lilli ☕️ 🧿, but don't surprised if you get responses from other members, too!
52 prompts (one per week), where you're only competing against yourself.
It's a great low-pressure way to refine your poetry skills. Currently closed for sign-ups (they're more than halfway through the first 52-week round), watch for this one to start over.
An affordable ticket-purchase fundraiser where each ticket buys you a chance to win 20% of the prize pot and her exclusive 25k Coffee Awardicon. There's even an extra Awardicon drawing for the purchasers of every 13th ticket.
If you don't want to wait, straight donations (starting at 30k) get you different merit badges, depending on the size of the gift.
Find your daybook and circle all the Friday the 13th's you can find.
A quick-run activity, allowing you to send an ultra-exclusive badge to a member who's made some aspect of your life better. Completely not-for-profit, so there's no additional costs to you outside of purchasing the badge (at the time of writing, all merit badges are 10k).
An affordable fundraiser rewarding you for donating to any WdC group or contest. Your automatic reward is a trinket, and you're entered into a roll for the exclusive merit badge! (At the time of writing, the minimum donation amount is 1,000 gps).
Some Previous Winners of Lilli ☕️ 🧿's Contests
"Thank You, Lord" by 🌻 pwheeler love, joy, peace
"Thankfulness under the Moon" by eyestar~
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