This may be hard to believe, but the Haulix blog is now two and a half years old. We have interviewed hundreds of professionals in that time, and that is in addition to publishing more than two-hundred different advice columns on everything from booking tours to launching a music blog. We feel we have accomplished a lot in our brief digital life, but the one thing we haven’t done is attempt to engage our readers with a contest related to the written word. That is, until today.

November is the month blog editor James Shotwell celebrates his birthday, and when we asked what he wanted most in the world James replied that he simply wanted something good to read. We couldn’t agree more, so for our inaugural writing challenge we’re keeping the rules incredibly simple. All you have to do, and this goes for anyone who wants to participate, is step outside your genre comfort zone and review something you would normally not take time to cover. If you write about metal, find time this month to cover a new pop or hip-hop release. If you love pop, consider spinning the new albums from Handguns or A Great Big World. Heck, you could even cover the new Tim McGraw album, just as long as it’s not something you would typically make time to cover.

Write your best review and submit your finished piece to, along with a link to other review you have written. We will confirm your submission, adding it to others we receive, and at the end of November one writer will be chosen as the winner. There will be a prize, but for now we are keeping the contents a mystery. We will mail the winner something however, so don’t go expecting the prize to be something stupid like ‘a feeling of accomplishment.’ We like good prizes, so we give good prizes.

Why are we doing this?

Good question.

The simple answer is: We can. The better answer is that after spending the better part of a decade living and breathing music writing we have seen countless talented people fall victim to being unable to write outside their comfort zone. Writers make themselves believe they are only capable of covering one or two genres of music, often tied to their personal taste, and never take it upon themselves to expand their horizons. We feel being able to write about a wide variety of music is key to success in the journalism industry today, so we created this challenge to encourage others to try something new.

All submissions are due by Sunday, November 29.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.