Do you enter writing competitions?

 

Have you thought about entering writing competitions?

Have you been considering entering a writing competition but something is holding you back? Is it the time and effort of finding a legitimate competition, writing an entry, the entry fee and the wait for results that puts you off? Whilst it sounds like a lot of hard work (and it can be), I am here to tell you it is worth it!

Benefits

There are so many benefits to entering a well-reputed writing competition.

 Prizes:

Lets face it, who doesn’t love to win! When you win a writing competition, or at least place in one, you may receive a cash prize. How much you receive will obviously depend upon the competition.

Publication:

Some writing competitions may offer publication in conjunction with a cash prize, or instead of money. In my opinion publication is just as good, if not better than cash! Having your name on a written piece that won a competition is a great way to gain publicity and get your name out there!

Esteemed writer reading your work:

When you are investigating writing competitions, make sure you look at who the judges are. There may just be a writer who you have long respected and held in high esteem judging the competition. Imagine one of your literary heroes holding your story in their hands and reading it! For me, that is enough motivation to enter.

Equal footing:

In most writing competitions, your name is withheld from the entry piece. This means that even if you are competing against well-known writers you are all on equal footing. The writing piece the judge is holding in their hands is the single most important thing, not who wrote it.

Publicity:

When you win a writing competition that publishes your work, it is a great way to build your portfolio and attract attention. It is practically free publicity and marketing, if the entry free for the completion isn’t too steep! Who can say no to an opportunity like that?

 Portfolio.

Adding a winning story to your portfolio looks great and helps attract attention. It is like being able to add a prestigious job to your resume. Again, why wouldn’t you want to jump at any chance for publicity and creating a name for yourself?

Cons

Just like with anything, there is a downside to writing competitions.

Entry Fees:

There are some writing competitions out there that do not require an entry fee, however the majority will require payment to enter. To a struggling writer who wants to make ends meet, this can be a huge drawback to entering a writing competition. My advice is to screen the competitions you want to enter, make yourself a budget and make sure you stick to it.

False sense of rejection:

Due to the many submissions you often do not receive any feedback on your piece if you do not win. This can create a sense of rejection and disappointment. However don’t lose heart, it is simply because the judges cannot possible provide feedback for every single contestant.

Tips

Are you ready to give writing competitions a try? Then keep these practical tips handy:

  • Keep track of upcoming contests and their deadlines.
  • Familiarise yourself with the competitions aesthetic by reading previous winning entries, and the runners-up.
  • Ensure you read the rules and eligibility requirements of the competitions thoroughly.
  • Have a budget in mind for how much you want or can spend on entering writing competitions and ensure you do not go over.
  • Make sure you research the writing competition to ensure it is legitimate. Yes, there are dodgy ones out there!

Some writers’ love writing competitions, some don’t bother with them at all. I find that they help to improve my writing and also serve to help me shrug off rejection. And as an aspiring author I have to get used to rejection until I hit gold.

Have you entered a writing competition? How did you go? I would love to hear about your experiences, whether good or bad!

 

 

 

Should you participate in an online writing course?

Have you been considering participating in an online writing course? Are you unsure whether it is worth the time and effort to study? Keep reading for why a writing course can be beneficial to you as a novice writer.

Ways an online writing course may benefit your writing:

You should keep in mind that studying a creative writing course is not a prerequisite for becoming a writer. However, there is the belief that it can increase your odds of getting published.

  • It can improve your vocabulary.
  • You develop your creative thinking and problem-solving skills through analysis of different styles of writing and developing your own projects.
  • Many online courses that are offered can teach you how to give and take constructive criticism.
  • You can learn how to organise your ideas and write clearly.
  • Provides a community to share and debate ideas with fellow classmates.
  • It can help reignite your passion, or lead to inspiration, for writing.
  • You will meet new people who share common interests.
  • Many courses will give you tools and knowledge to plot, plan and develop your writing projects.

What kind of online writing course should you do?

This is really up to you and what you want to achieve. There are so many out there, it is a matter of reading up about the course, what it has to offer and working out if it is the one for you.

You can do anything from novels (including specific genres) and childrens’ books to screen writing and plays. What is your passion? What is your niche? You can study them all, or none. The choice is yours.

There are also courses out there for specific things like character development, plotting and using different programs such as scrivener and word for your writing projects. These can be useful if you wish to know more in-depth the tiny elements that go into a writing project and the tools that can make it easier and more time effective.

The best things about online writing courses?

Many online courses have a learn-at-you-own-pace style, where the lessons are posted on a weekly basis, and you get to them when you get to them. This is great for those people who are trying to fit their writing in around other employment, family, kids and chores.

I have taken several different online writing courses now, and can recommend them as a way to build confidence and skills. You may well be thinking to yourself, “but you still aren’t published”! And that is a very good point. I am not saying taking an online writing course is a sure way to publish your work, however due to the confidence, knowledge and tools you gain through online courses it can increase your chances. Online courses are also a fantastic way of forcing you to actually put pen to paper, rather than simply thinking about it!

You can do a simple Google search for online writing courses and you will have thousands of results pop up. I am a fan of any Australian ones, but I am sure that is no surprise seeing as I am from Australia! I personally have found that the Australian Writers Centre offers some fantastic courses, online and in person. They are generally affordable too (always an added bonus)! I am bias of course, but it is a great starting point for anyone out there looking for writing courses.

If you have found a great online writing course I would love to hear about it!