When it comes to entering writing contests, it’s important to remember that winning can’t be duplicated.
Many children’s sports leagues contain participation awards. Writing is very different form children’s sports. Publishers and agents aren’t looking for authors who have received participation awards. They are looking for authors who can write well enough to sell books.
Contests often help speed up an agents or publishers search process. They help separate the wheat from the chaff. Award recognition is a healthy sign of writing ability.
If you aren’t entering writing contests, you need to be. Contests help your writing career is various ways.
- Contests require you to meet deadlines
- Any writer, worth their salt, is capable of meeting a publisher or agents deadline. Contest deadlines push you to write well in a tight timeframe.
- Contests build your writing resume/bio
- Winning awards helps you pad your writing resume or bio. This is essential early in your writing career, as most beginning writers don’t have a lot of published work to include in their author bio.
- Contests help you find an agent/publisher
- Many agents and publishers serve as judges in contests. It gives them opportunities to discover new talent, find new clients, and see how your work stacks up against similar competition.
- Contests stretch your writing ability
- Competition drives us to improve. When you know your work will be judged against others, you strive to create your best manuscript, applying learned skills and strengthening your writing.
- Contests allow you to gain perspective
- Sometimes we need a reality check. You may think your manuscript is amazing, but in reality it needs some work. Many contest offer constructive feedback, which can give you critical insight into improving your writing.
- Contests encourage you to step outside the box
- Entering contests in various genres and writing styles helps you become a more well rounded writer. You may not be the best novelist, or best poet, but entering in various contests encourages you to grow as a writer, which can improve all of your writing.
- Contests help you get published
- Many contests offer publishing opportunities to winners and/or finalists. If you enter these contests and win, you may also find yourself become published in a magazine or anthology. Or better yet, you may land that all important book contract.
Writing contests are an important and necessary part of the writing lifestyle. Take time to search for contests that have deadlines within the next few months and begin writing and editing. Don’t wait for your writing to be perfect before you enter. No writer’s ever is.
Good luck, and I hope you win!
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