WRITING CONTESTS BENEFITS


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
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Jan Epton Seale


Jan Epton Seale

www.janseale.com

Jan Epton Seale, the 2012-13 Texas Poet Laureate, is a native Texan who lives in McAllen, in the southern tip of Texas. She is the author of seven volumes of poetry, two books of short fiction, three books of nonfiction, and nine children’s books.

Her writing has appeared in many magazines and newspapers including The Yale Review, Texas Monthly, The Chicago Tribune, and Writer’s Digest. Some anthologies including her work are Writing on the Wind, Let’s Hear It!, Red Boots and Attitude, If I Had My Life to Live Over, Cries of the Spirit, Mixed Voices, This Place in Memory, and Birds in the Hand.

In l982, Seale received a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship in poetry. Seven of her short stories were chosen in the P.E.N. Syndicated Fiction Awards series. Her poetry has received the Kathryn Morris Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of Texas, and the Bill Burke Award and Dolly Sprunk Memorial Award from the New York Poetry Forum. Her stories and poems have been broadcast over National Public Radio.

Workshops and readings by Seale have taken place in Washington, Oregon, Oklahoma, Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico, and in Texas in Dallas, Denton, Waco, Houston, Abilene, El Paso, Austin, and San Antonio, as well as many in the Rio Grande Valley.

For 16 years she was the South Texas editor of Texas Books in Review. Other editorial work includes serving as a founding editor of RiverSedge literary journal and as an editor of The Valley Land Fund pictorial volumes.

Seale was born in Pilot Point, Texas, graduated from Waxahachie High School, attended Baylor University, and received a B.A. from The University of Louisville and a M.A. from North Texas State University.

She taught English and creative writing at The University of Texas-Pan American and at North Texas State University. For a number of years, she has taught workshops in creative and memoir writing, both locally and nationally at conference centers such as Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, Gemini Ink in San Antonio, and Mo Ranch in the Hill Country of Texas.

Seale is available for readings of her work and for workshops in writing poetry and nonfiction. Besides these genre interests, she specializes in the subject areas of memoir, nature, aging, spirituality, and women’s lives. She is on the Speaker’s Bureau for Humanities Texas, speaking about the influence of personal stories on family life. She is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.

Jan Seale and her husband Carl, a retired symphony conductor and composer, have three grown sons and four grandsons. www.janseale.com

Panhandle Professional Writers

Saturday, March 16 we look forward to having Jan Seale, with “Writing the Story of Your Life.”  Want to learn the basic story structure to use, what to include, and pitfalls?  Come hear Jan’s talk on writing one’s memoirs.  Greeting time begins at 9:30 a.m. at Amarillo Senior Citizens, 1219 S. Tyler, Amarillo, TX. – entrance on the southwest corner.  Join us for lunch at Noon:  Pasta La Mexican – Penne pasta topped with diced chicken, mixed vegetables, and pablano cream sauce.  Top this off with fresh tomatoes, corn relish and cilantro.  Dessert and drinks are included, all for $10.00, with morning and afternoon snacks also provided.  Come join us to learn more on “Writing the Story of Your Life.”

You may make lunch reservations by contacting Donna Otto at ppwlunch@gmail.com

WRITING CONTESTS BENEFITS


Announcing

2013 Frontiers in Writing Contest

Now open for entries

 For one low entry fee you can now enter multiple categories

Cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in EVERY category.

Go to:

www.Panhandleprowriters.org

Entry rules, procedures and format regulations are listed on the FiW Writing Contest page

Download FiW entry Application and mail along with your entry.

Entry fees can be check or Money order, or pay online using “Payments” on the PPW website.

Sponsored by the Panhandle Professional Writers

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

Frontiers in Writing Contest


Announcing

2013 Frontiers in Writing Contest

Now open for entries 

 For one low entry fee you can now enter multiple categories

Cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in EVERY category.

Go to:

www.Panhandleprowriters.org

Entry rules, procedures and format regulations are listed on the FiW Writing Contest page

Download FiW entry Application and mail along with your entry.

Entry fees can be check or Money order, or pay online using “Payments” on the PPW website.

Sponsored by the Panhandle Professional Writers

Basics to Entering a Writing Contest

 Writing contests can offer great benefits to a writer, however they can also be intimidating. To help you wade through the process, let’s look at some of the basics of entering a Writing Contest.

1. Choose the right contest – Do the research to find the best contest for your writing. Contest entry fees can vary greatly from free to extremely high. The rewards can be just as varied from a simple recognition and critique of your writing, to rewards of money prizes and publication. Beware of contests that require you to purchase the published work of your “Winning” writing. More information can be found in my article Writing Contest Benefits.

2. Choose the correct Genre – To avoid poor critiques or placement, choose the correct genre for your work. While some pieces may cross over into another classification, you will have better results if you focus your writing to one specific genre.

3. Follow Submission Guidelines – When entering a contest pay close attention to the submission guidelines. These rules may vary greatly with different organizations and contests. Be diligent to have the correct word count while using the proper page format, font, and cover page identification requirements. Don’t expect contest officials to overlook the rules just for you, it’s their contest and it’s their rules.

4. Pay attention to Postage – If you are sending an entry by mail it will require the correct postage, so does the return of your entry. Read carefully any instructions regarding postage and the return mailing requirements of your entry or prizes. If you are using metered mail, postage from a meter or computer, understand that it expires on the date stamped. If you stamp the return envelope with the current date, and the contest results are not given for several months, postage may be expired and could result in your entry not being returned.

By following these few steps, entering a writing contest can be fun and successful!

Rory C. Keel

GO FOR THE OUTRAGEOUS



GO FOR THE OUTRAGEOUS

By Natalie Bright

Hilary Sares, freelance editor and ghostwriter, spoke at the recent Frontiers in Writing Conference this summer and encouraged us to go for intensity and outrageousness in all of our writing. “Stories can take on a life of their own and don’t be afraid to spin your story into something new without loosing sight of the craft,” Sares told us. The example she gave is a self-pub runaway bestseller by John Locke called SAVING RACHEL, the story of what happens when killers force a man to choose between his wife and his mistress…and the one he rejects must die. It’s different, it’s a new premise and readers loved it. She reminded us that structure must include magic and plot. “Write from your soul, write from your heart, and write your life experience,” Hilary said. If the topic means something to you, you will reach people in a direct way. The trick is to put yourself into it and leave yourself out of it. One of the biggests problems she sees with newbie writers is the intrusion of clever asides. The author must be invisible. In today’s market we see larger story arcs where individual characters can be spun off into their own series. “The writing is tight, fast moving and stripped down,” Hilary said. “You are a pro. Be willing to change and edit.” She encouraged us to work our contacts, be shameless in promoting ourselves, and always keep the magic in mind.

Natalie Bright

www.nataliebright.com

Frontiers in Writing 2012


By Natalie Bright

Frontiers in Writing 2012 will open with a Thursday night book signing event held at Barnes and Noble, 2415 Soncy Road., 7:30 – 9:00 PM, June 28. Classes on Friday and Saturday will be held at the CUB on the Amarillo College Washington Campus. The closing event with John Erickson as the keynote speaker, will be held in the Ordway Auditorium.

Just for Newbies! If this is your first writers conference ever, don’t be shy. We’ll have a short orientation in the Barnes and Noble Classroom just for you starting at 7:30 PM. You’ll be done in plenty of time to attend the autographing and meet some of this years faculty.

The Friday night banquet featuring New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas, will be held in the REC Hall at the FORTAMARILLO RV PARK located at 10101 Amarillo Blvd. West, Amarillo. The REC hall is located on the corner of Amarillo Blvd andHelium Road, just behind Gander Mountain.

PPW is having a Book Fair at Barnes and Noble during this weekend. Every purchase made in store or online will benefit the organization. This gives us much needed funds for future conferences allowing us to keep registration fees as affordable as possible.

Print the registration form by going to www.panhandleprowriters.org

Hope to see you all in June!

Natalie Bright


Frontiers in Writing 2012


By Natalie Bright

Frontiers in Writing 2012 will open with a Thursday night book signing event held at Barnes and Noble, 2415 Soncy Road., 7:30 – 9:00 PM, June 28. Classes on Friday and Saturday will be held at the CUB on the Amarillo College Washington Campus. The closing event with John Erickson as the keynote speaker, will be held in the Ordway Auditorium.

Just for Newbies! If this is your first writers conference ever, don’t be shy. We’ll have a short orientation in the Barnes and Noble Classroom just for you starting at 7:30 PM. You’ll be done in plenty of time to attend the autographing and meet some of this years faculty.

The Friday night banquet featuring New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas, will be held in the REC Hall at the FORTAMARILLO RV PARK located at 10101 Amarillo Blvd. West, Amarillo. The REC hall is located on the corner of Amarillo Blvd andHelium Road, just behind Gander Mountain.

PPW is having a Book Fair at Barnes and Noble during this weekend. Every purchase made in store or online will benefit the organization. This gives us much needed funds for future conferences allowing us to keep registration fees as affordable as possible.

Print the registration form by going to www.panhandleprowriters.org

Hope to see you all in June!

Natalie Bright


Frontiers in Writing 1st Timer orientation


Frontiers in Writing 1st Timer orientation
Rory Craig Keel will be conducting a special 1st Timer orientation just prior to Frontiers in Writing Conference on Thursday, June 28th. from 7:30 – 8:30 PM  in the Classroom at Barnes and Noble Bookstore, 2415 Soncy Road, Amarillo, TX.
If you’re new to writing and this is your first conference, then let us answer all your questions and concerns. As a multi-award winning author, his writing has been featured in heavensentministries.org, thisspirituallife.com, seedsofhopeonline.com, The Secret Place devotional magazine by Judson Press, and he blogs every week at wordsmithsix.wordpress.com
 Rory C. Keel

Frontiers in Writing 2012


By Natalie Bright

Frontiers in Writing 2012 will open with a Thursday night book signing event held at Barnes and Noble, 2415 Soncy Road., 7:30 – 9:00 PM, June 28. Classes on Friday and Saturday will be held at the CUB on the Amarillo College Washington Campus. The closing event with John Erickson as the keynote speaker, will be held in the Ordway Auditorium.

Just for Newbies! If this is your first writers conference ever, don’t be shy. We’ll have a short orientation in the Barnes and Noble Classroom just for you starting at 7:30 PM. You’ll be done in plenty of time to attend the autographing and meet some of this years faculty.

The Friday night banquet featuring New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas, will be held in the REC Hall at the FORTAMARILLO RV PARK located at 10101 Amarillo Blvd. West, Amarillo. The REC hall is located on the corner of Amarillo Blvd andHelium Road, just behind Gander Mountain.

PPW is having a Book Fair at Barnes and Noble during this weekend. Every purchase made in store or online will benefit the organization. This gives us much needed funds for future conferences allowing us to keep registration fees as affordable as possible.

Print the registration form by going to www.panhandleprowriters.org

Hope to see you all in June!

Natalie Bright


Frontiers in Writing 1st Timer orientation


Frontiers in Writing 1st Timer orientation
Rory Craig Keel will be conducting a special 1st Timer orientation just prior to Frontiers in Writing Conference on Thursday, June 28th. from 7:30 – 8:30 PM  in the Classroom at Barnes and Noble Bookstore, 2415 Soncy Road, Amarillo, TX.
If you’re new to writing and this is your first conference, then let us answer all your questions and concerns. As a multi-award winning author, his writing has been featured in heavensentministries.org, thisspirituallife.com, seedsofhopeonline.com, The Secret Place devotional magazine by Judson Press, and he blogs every week at wordsmithsix.wordpress.com