MidLifeCollage Interview with Donna Balon
Donna Balon is the owner of MidLifeCollage.com. She hosts a weekly writing contest with a cash prize of $50 to the winner. We have conducted a short interview with her.
How many short stories about midlife have you received on your site MidLifeCollage.com so far?
Since inception, we’ve received over 700 submissions and 200 have been selected for publication. We receive at least thirty submissions a week, so choosing five for a contest week is competitive.
Who is/are the judge/s for the winning writing and what are the main criteria to be a winner?
Our readers are the judges. It’s like the Netflix star rating; people watch a movie, then rate it based on five stars. On our website, users may read and rate a story based on the five-star rating. The winner is the story that receives the highest average star rating. To assure that people don’t rate the same story multiple times (cheat), they need to login with their name, a user name and email address.
Midlife Collage is a very meaningful site with good intentions. What inspired you to create the MidLifeCollage.com?
The forty-and-over crowd does not have many places on the Internet where they can be comfortable and add their voices. This is an experiment—I think it’s going to work.
Is there a background story to why it was started?
I had a hectic thirty-year tax and accounting career. For my next venture, I wanted to do something fun and the Internet has infinite possibilities. But I didn’t want to blog. Blogging is like being your own paparazzi without the camera. I didn’t want the intrusion. I do believe that everyone has at least one story and I thought that multiple voices would make for a rich-content site. My husband thought of making this newly-conceived website into a contest. Once he put out the idea, I liked the structure. The contest gives an incentive and the challenge adds drama during week.
Being the editor of this contest site, how do you describe your work week/day and how is it?
My busiest day is Monday because I have to close a contest, validate and announce the winner and prepare press releases. It’s also the first day of the new contest, so I email the writers who have stories in the contest and send out press releases about the new stories.
The rest of the week, I edit and edit: reading submissions, choosing stories and making copyedit changes to prepare the stories for publication. I also promote the website on social media.
The best part is reading inspirational stories and getting to know the writers. I also love the comments by the readers.
Do you personally consider midlife to be a tremendous period of growth and/or it is an opportunity for the person to create a new identity? What are your views?
Both! Many writers say in their biographies that writing is a second career or something they’ve always wanted to do. I can relate to that, wanting something other than the career that I had. Midlife Collage is about sharing and relating. I hope that as the website evolves, our writers and readers will also grow.
Come and see the growing adult writing contests at MidlifeCollage.com!
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