Priscilla Y. Huff
You are busy, busy with everyday work-life schedules, plus fitting in your current writing project(s) whenever possible, so why should you consider entering writing contests? Here are three good reasons:
1) You have a set goal to produce a specific writing piece by a specified deadline. In my case, deadlines are the primary reason I have finished my articles and books.
2) Often you are challenged to write in a different style or genre that will help broaden your writing skills and may even open a new direction with your career.
3) You may win (!) and have a new accolade to list in your writing credits. If not, you have demonstrated that you can start and complete an assignment and have the writing sample to prove it. You can also now take it to market.
Three suggested tips:
1) Read previous winners’ entries to provide you with a sampling of the type of stories and styles the contest organizers judge worthy.
2) Follow each contest’s entry specifications as to word length, submission procedures, fees and other requirements to ensure your entry will be accepted for review.
3) Proofread carefully and/or have another person also go over it.
--Writer’s Market – Browse through the latest of this annual guide’s “Contest and Awards” section for prospects.
--Other sources offering periodic writing contests include writing trade publications like The Children’s Writer newsletter, www.childrenswriter.com, Highlights for Children, Writer’s Digest Magazine, The Writer** (see below); general interest magazines like Family Circle; online sites like WritersWeekly.com; and other publications, companies and assorted writing-related organizations.
--Ask writers in your network for contests they enter and stay alert for additional ones. For example, I am a faithful NPR listener and recently heard that they offer a “Three-Minute” fiction writing contest to be read on air: http://n.npr.org/NPRI/jN78759083_317789_317725_Z.htm
**The Writer Magazine is sponsoring a short, short story contest. $10 entry fee, deadline May: www.writingclasses.com/ContestPages/writer.php
Writing competitively is not only fun, it may just be the boost you need to persevere in your quest to become a successfully-published writer.
Good luck and Happy Writing!