Call for submissions

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

Last Thursday, as the Pelham High School Volleyball team was competing for the state championship, teachers and students unable to attend the finals were cheering the team on from school. Literary magazine staffers requested score reports as they began delivering submission boxes throughout the school.

Panther Volleyball won the 2017 6A State Championship during my planning time. Unable to stream the game, squeals from nearby classrooms caused me to reach for my phone to check Athletic Director Kim Kiel’s Twitter. My personal sports reporter’s text popped up.

Lit Mag staffers display the submission boxes that serve as calls to submission for the PHS creatives as November and writing season begin. (Contributed)

“Pelham H S wins state volleyball championship!” my husband’s message said. Watching the game-winning final point was thrilling.

I’ve taught many of these athletes and witnessed their hard work. All of these young women are talented, but every skill doesn’t come easily to them. In championships, work ethic and leadership determine winners.

In November, two events mark the beginning of competition writing season. NaNoWriMo, sponsored by the non-profit Office of Letters and Light, begins on Nov. 1 and continues for the month’s 30 days. Writing approximately four pages daily, students complete a novel. Editing comes later. For November, they simply tell their stories.

Participating in NaNoWriMo provides portfolio pages for scholarship competitions. This year, Lit Mag submission box distribution is also the first week of November.

Most PHS Literary Magazine submissions are received digitally; however, students are required to complete paper submission forms to drop in decorated submission boxes. These boxes serve as visual calls for submissions to the PHS student body and offer students an opportunity to publish artwork, photography and writing.

Writing contest and scholarship deadlines follow almost weekly. Manilla envelopes are filled. Digital submission sites are reviewed and time zones are discussed. Frequent deadline reminders prompt students.

“Writing is like a sport – you only get better if you practice,” author Rick Riordan said. Writing practice has been ongoing and relentless, competition has begun, and these writers have heart. As their coach, I am doing my paperwork, challenging my students to push their writing limits and delighting in all PHS teams.