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!
There are so many benefits to entering a well-reputed writing competition.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
Just like with anything, there is a downside to writing competitions.
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.
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!