Writing Contests Benefits
By Rory C. Keel
It cost money; why should I enter? What benefit will a contest be for my writing and me? I’m not good enough so I’ll never win.
Those who are looking at entering writing contests frequently express these statements and questions. I know, I’ve asked most of them myself.
Having entered my share of writing contests, let me offer some positive benefits from my personal experience.
- Training for working with deadlines – Writing contests give a writer the opportunity to work under a deadline. Most contests will have strict dates for submitting an entry. This is good conditioning for working with agents, editors, and publishers who will place deadlines on your writing.
- Provides automatic platform – A platform is your audience, those who will read your writing. While your mother and “BFF” will gladly volunteer readership, contest judges can provide you with an unbiased and anonymous audience for your writing. And who knows, the judge may be an agent, editor or publisher.
- Gain feedback – One of the most valuable benefits of a writing contest is the critique. To have the judge’s comments noting any mistakes, suggestions for improvement and yes, even praise can help improve your writing.
- Build your portfolio – Writing contests are a perfect why to build your portfolio. When seeking an agent or publisher, a few writing clips, accomplishments and certificates may be the edge you need to sell the deal.
- Increase your confidence – Entering a contest gives a writer the opportunity to gain confidence in their writing. Have you ever written something only to tear it up or hide it in a drawer? Have you ever said, “I could never write good enough to be published!” A writing contest provides an inexpensive way to test the waters of being an author.
- Avoid scam contests – As with most everything, there are people who take advantage of others. Before entering a contest, research the person or organization holding the contest and make sure they are legitimate. There are a few contests that are no more than book selling scams. When your entry wins, it is accepted for publication in an anthology, with all of the other first place winners, then you must pay an outrageous price to obtain a copy. Winningwriters.com lists a few of these writing contests to avoid. To help find your next contest check out www.placesforwriters.com or www.fundsforwriters.com