Reviewing the Survivor ContestbyPrincessErin©
In a perfect world, there would be no need for competition. Everyone would share what they had and no one would be left hungry, or homeless. Isn't that a perfect scene? Of course it is, but in reality, it will never happen. Human nature is thus that being competitive is a way of survival. Even when you look at the science behind conception, you see that sperm are competing for the chance to fertilize the egg. The sperm that penetrates the egg first has won. The winner gets to give its genes to a new life.
This competitive nature of the world is imbedded into everything that humans do. We can pretend that we're doing things out of the goodness of our heart, but as many philosophers have argued, everything we do is for the better of only one person, ourselves. The world does revolve around money, but those that live only for money will not live a happy life. The motivation in your life must be based on your personal goals, which should not be completely based on money.
With that said, the Survivor contest thrives on the competitive nature of humans. We enjoy a challenge and this is a perfect contest for those that need a challenge in the writing category.
A perfectly set up contest rewards writers for writing stories. It is the motivation that many need to put the ideas in their heads into words. A challenge that allows those that have never written a word in their life to write a full story.
It seems that many on this site are disgusted by this contest. Based on the comments made to the competitors it seems that way. The fact that someone would choose to participate in a contest that would better their writing seems to be wrong. No one has explained to me why it is so wrong, but then again it's easier to point a finger and say it's bad without backing up your argument.
The Survivor contest does need to be used in the right way though. One thing I have noticed is that there is a big difference between internal and external motivation. It is similar with the students that I teach. You can give them an external motivator to get their work done (giving them candy or allowing them to watch a movie), but unless they are motivated from within it is useless.
I believe that is the case with the Survivor contest. The contest should be a catalyst for a writer to write. It should be the beginning point for someone to start writing stories. The motivation to join the Survivor contest should not be about the money or the fame. It should be about the stories you write. The fame and money is an external motivator. Once the fame and money are gone, you have nothing.
If, on the other hand, you choose to participate in the contest, but decide that the motivation to write is based on your own personal goals and challenges, no matter what happens, you have won. It sounds idealistic, but it is the truth.
The main flaw with the Survivor contest, which has been discussed at length, is the fact that the stories don't have to be high quality stories. As long as the site approves the story, it counts. Now, if your motivation to participate in the contest were based on your desire to be the winner and to earn $500 then you would be the type to write stories without regard for quality. When you are internally motivated to better your writing and challenge yourself in new categories, the stories are well-written and written with time and effort.
Now, of course, as I write this I think of the amusing scene in 'Dead Poets Society' where the class reads about the proper way to analyze poetry. As with any creative writing, what someone sees as a well-written story can be interpreted as worthless and useless by others. Some authors will take offence to these comments, but once again, the motivation to write cannot come strictly from the comments from readers. You should write because you want to write and as long as you know that you truly put the time and effort into your story then you should not be worried about the outcome.
There is a very good reason to have the Survivor contest continue year after year. The number of stories published from the participants continues to grow which means that the choice of stories for readers increases. There are high quality, well written stories in many genres. Readers are intrigued with those genres and will continue reading. Knowing that a favorite author of yours will be writing as many stories as possible would be a thrill. It is not something negative.
The world is a competitive place and considering the number of writers who have joined the contest, there are competitive writers on this site. The goal of the Survivor contest should not be to beat out the other writers. The goal should be to write as much as you can, whether that means you come in first, or fiftieth.
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