“Take a risk. Meet the characters inside yourself.” ~~B. Lynn Goodwin– used in a brochure for a class she used to teach called A is for Acting.
Why Enter Writing Contests?
You polish your writing, imagining your audience. You read it over. Out loud. Does it say exactly what you want it to say? You have a friend read it to you. Impressed, she says, “You should submit this to contests. Put yourself out there. Get some recognition for your work.”
Maybe you leap at the idea. Maybe you hesitate. After all, it’s more work. Besides, it makes you feel vulnerable. There’s almost always a fee and you’re guaranteed nothing. Why bother with contests when the judge isn’t an agent or editor who could take you on as a client?
I’ve run contest for Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com since 2006 and for the Women’s National Book Association since 2019. I’ve been a judge for Story Circle Network and a NorCal organization seeking local books. I’ve seen a huge range, and this organization gets polished submissions. Their award will carry prestige.
Placing in a writing contest is a huge boost to your work. You all know that acceptances mater. No need to elaborate on that. Here are some other perks you might get:
- It gives you a chance to see how your work fares in the world.
- It gives you exposure. Contest judges know people. Maybe they’ll make a referral to an agent.
- Contest winners usually get published. Published online? Share the link with agents, editors, and anyone who might be interested.
- Winners get paid. That’s usually the reason that contests charge fees. Those who run the contests need to cover expenses.
- The biggest payment, though, is the boost to your self-esteem. Who couldn’t use a little of that?
- There’s also the matter of name recognition. Wouldn’t you like to be Caitlin Contestant, winner of WNBA’s Effie Lee Morris Contest?
Wouldn’t you like to share your story with the world? Contests can help you do that. This year’s judges are eager to read your work. Learn more at https://wnba-sfchapter.org/2021-effie-lee-morris-contest-get-ready/. We’ll be accepting submissions until April 1.
Writer Advice offers four contests a year. Click on Current Contests. You not only have a chance to win a prize but you also have the opportunity, if your want it, to receive detailed feedback. Please read the directions carefully. Both contests would love to read your work, and you can learn of more opportunities on the Contests and Markets page.
Seeking a mentor for a middle grade or YA? Visit http://authormentormatch.com/mentors/ before January 10th, 2021. Pick the mentor you want to work with and apply.
Here are some sentences taken from the text of Meredith Maran’s Why We Write About Ourselves. Sometimes it feels good to write about writing, right?
If you write something you like that fits our criteria, please consider submitting it as a Flash Memoir. Criteria is explained in Current Contest. Thanks!
- I never worry about offending anyone when I’m writing fiction or plays.
- I do not consider myself a memoirist.
- Writing about my father was cathartic.
- My sister, Carol, isn’t speaking to me.
- The writing itself can be hard.
What happens if you use one for
- An opening line?
- A closing line?
What happens if you free write for 20 minutes, read it over, underline what you like, develop it, edit it, and share it with a writing partner, a critique group, or a larger audience?
Give it a try. We’d love to hear what the experience is like for you. 🙏✍️