Well, it was bound to happen. The 2011 Blizzard Global Writing Contest is up. I'm oddly ambivalent about it this year though, reason being that a lot has happened since then.
In 2009 I was pretty hungry as a writer. I didn't get much recognition for my work, and getting an Honorable Mention in the contest was an amazing validation.
In 2010 I wrote what I thought was a fantastic follow-up to my 2009 Honorable Mention. My one beta reader who'd read both works thought the second was much better than the first. But it ended up that I didn't place at all. (My feeling is the competition was probably stiffer, or perhaps Blizzard was just tired of blood elf paladins.)
Meanwhile, in 2010 I ended up winning a critically acclaimed international writing competition for amateur writers. Patrick Rothfuss is a previous winner, and if you've been reading fantasy fiction at all these past few years his name probably rings a bell even if you haven't read his work. Since my 2010 win I have sold an additional two short stories (the winning story was published in a compilation of winners) at professional rates.
Now I'm faced with the conceit that while I find the competition fun, time writing for a Blizzard contest might not pay off. It will take time away from work I can probably be paid for, for a remote chance at getting Blizzard to recognize my work as a writer (which may or may not lead to additional work as a writer).
Is it worth writing what is essentially an audition piece I will not be able to use anywhere else instead of a short story I could sell at a number of different publishers?
None of Blizzard's winners have gone on to write a novel or even the short stories in the Warcraft Legends manga,--just the short stories on the web site. The novels are the department of established pros such as Christie Golden and Richard Knaak who cut their teeth on Dungeons & Dragon products. Aaron Rosenberg, one of the less utilized Warcraft novelists, is still a known media tie-in author who presumably came to the attention of the company through his pre-established writing chops.
I'm not saying I won't write something. I've been having an idea knocking about my head in anticipation of the contest. But I still have to ask myself: Is it worth it?
By the way, if anyone happens to be curious as to my non-WoW writing endeavors, I've added a link on the side-bar of my blog (you won't see it on an RSS feed) to my award-winning novelette, which is now available on Kindle at just $0.99. From there you can also get to my Amazon author page and find information about my other upcoming works, my author blog, and author Twitter.
I generally try to keep my WoW and writing identities separate, but when they collide like during the contest some crossover is expected.
5 hours ago