Why enter writing competitions

This month we launched our own writing competition. Two of the prizes offer winners writing-related prizes: a webinar on script writing and mentoring for two months. We intend to expand on this as we grow the competitions.

Reasons for entering writing competitions vary, but the first most obvious reason is that if you win you gain exposure to a new audience. But there are other reasons. These include giving yourself a specific deadline to work towards meeting. This is, in itself, a great motivator.

Competitions open up opportunities to get feedback. If you are bold, you may enter competitions that are outside of your preferred genre. You might not win, but the practice will definitely be worthwhile.

When you win a competition, you can add this to your profile as it does give you status as a writer.

In her blog, Caroline writes that entering a writing competition is motivating and focuses you on finding a story to write, or even dust off an old story and give it a tidy up. When you do this last thing, you actually discover stories you had forgotten about. Sometimes they even surprise you by how well they read. I have a couple of those. These stories warrant putting a bit of effort into so that they are polished and fresh for the competition. The competition actually gives you somewhere to send the story.

It does help to stick to the topic. The benefit? It teaches you to follow instructions and to adhere to the competition’s rules. Once we ran a competition for a short story and stipulated that the maximum word count was 1000. We received a 4000 word entry. It was a terrible shame because the story was brilliant and might have won, had the judges not quaked at the thought of reading a story that had gone way over the allowable number of words. Not to mention that it would be unfair to the other writers who followed the guidelines.

By learning to keep to the stipulated word count, you learn to cut out superfluous words. What remains is the core of the story, and that is the important bit. It will help the story read a lot better.

In Practical Publishing Advice for Authors, Standout Books gives a categorical ‘yes’ to the question: Should writers enter competitions? It gives the following reasons for being so definite.

They say that a placing in a competition is like getting a raise. You immediately attain a certain amount of kudos for having had the skill to produce a piece of writing your peers have rated as worth being recognised. It says you are good at what you do and it is encouragement to keep going.

The last thing they point out is very relevant. When you enter a writing competition, it is all about what you stand to get out of it. That is not in financial terms but in the way it enables you to develop your craft. For that reason, we have offered prizes like a webinar on script writing and writing mentoring. We hope to add more prizes like that in time. Next month we are going to experiment with a topic from a genre we have never touched before. However, there is a lot of interest in it.

But this is the inaugural month of our competitions and you have to be in to win. The challenge we put to you is to write a story or a poem using the theme of love. We invite you to send us your entry at http://www.thestorymint.com/.

 

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love poem/story
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