Some writers write only for themselves, some write for their family and friends, some write in the hope that one day they will achieve fame and fortune with a New York Times Bestseller, while others write because they simply have no option. Whichever kind of writer you are it’s a good idea at some stage of your writing journey to start entering competitions. Here are just a few of the reasons why:
- Competitions force you to sharpen your writing skills. They stop you from being sloppy. You start to read your work as a reader rather than as a writer. A missing phrase, poor grammar or the lazy use of clichés may be ok when the words are just between you and the page but not when other eyes will be reading your offerings. In making ourselves look for the mistakes we improve our writing.
- Deadlines are a writer’s best friend. So many of us put off finishing that story or polishing that poem because …well, just because we can. A competition will give you a deadline and make you get your butt in that seat.
- Rejection is good for writers. It thickens our skin and compels us to make our writing better. The fact is that when you enter a competition there can only be one winner and chances are it won’t be you. But next time it might be.
- Competitions can inspire you to write outside your comfort zone. Maybe you’re not that great at haiku or short stories or flash fiction. Well, there’s only one way to get better.
- Being shortlisted or placing in a competition is great for your writing resume. When you send submissions to publishers and agents they want to see that you’ve been putting your work out there and how successful you’ve been. Keep a record of everything you enter and your achievements.
- Seeing your work in print is a buzz. Many competitions are for anthologies – the winning entries are selected for publication. And for those who are seeking publication this is a great way to get your foot in the door.
I’ll be posting details of any competitions I find here over the coming months.
Would love to hear your thoughts on entering writing competitions.