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This week, I finished up some contest entries for the National Newspaper Association‘s Better Newspaper contest.

It’s the second contest I’ve entered this year, and I think I have some good stories to submit.

I like to win writing awards and I’ve won or been a part of several winning stories the past few years in the Associated Press newspaper contest. I have some nice plaques to show for it, and some good memories.

But to be honest, I’m kind of half-and-half on awards. It’s nice to win some from time to time, and it can be a good measuring stick of one’s work. But they can also be a pain in the neck.

Time consuming

I mean, it takes time to review, select, print and mail what you hope will win. The most difficult part, sometimes, is figuring out which categories to enter, and meeting all the eligibility rules.

I can write a good story with ease. But thinking about which ones should win an award, and presenting that to a judge, is not easy. Sometimes I think the time spent applying for awards should be time spent working. For me, that means writing more good stories.

Farming can be a bit this way, too. There are all kinds of great awards you can win, whether you’re a livestock or crop farmer, or both. And they certainly give some pride and satisfaction to the recipients. It’s a sign they’re doing things right, and that’s good to note.

But as farmers, do you ever get tired of applying for things?

I guess you have to apply if you want to win. But I would much rather work hard — write good stories — than think about which ones might win something.

Self-evident

To me, the best writing is that which stands up on its own, and requires no explanation or reasons for why it is good. There are a lot of stories I write that don’t fit a contest category, but do an effective job of telling the news.

I think farm work is the same. Farmers do many things very well because they need done. They don’t intend to receive recognition for each thing they do — they just do the job at hand the best they can.

That’s how I like to approach writing. I try to write my best and it’s great to win things. But the real factor is the day-to-day stuff that gets done, just because it must.

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties.
Chris Kick
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