Participating in writing contests can offer 6 key benefits
I used to enter writing contests, but I haven’t done so lately. Writing contests are fun when you win, and I had a few wins early on. Interestingly, as I’ve improved as a writer, my success rate has dropped to zero. Hence I’m now less motivated. Plus, I’m now a lot busier writing other things.
Nevertheless, don’t automatically dismiss writing contests. Here are six reasons you should consider submitting content to a writing contest:
1) If Deadlines Help You Write: I always write with more intention when I have a due date. However, I’m also a disciplined writer and would be writing anyway, just perhaps not with as much purpose. However, other writers need a deadline to produce content. If submitting to a contest helps you write, then that presents a sufficient reason to do so.
2) If Your Submission Can be Repurposed: Everything I write nowadays can work in multiple situations. That way if the first contest or publication falls through, I have a second source to consider. That way none of my work is ever wasted.
3) If There is No Submission Fee: Some contests carry submission fees; others, don’t. Sometimes the fee is small; other times, not so small. I have submitted it to both kinds. Going forward I will never pay to enter a contest unless it meets the next criteria.
4) If the Pay-to-Play Contest Provides Value: I understand that some contests will give you feedback on your work. I’ve never encountered those contests, but I hear they exist. Receiving professional feedback may be worth the cost of submission, even if you don’t win. But you might be better off to skip the contest and just pay someone for his or her opinion.
5) If You Want to Expand Your Bio: Being able to say you won a contest looks impressive in your author’s bio. However, most people have never heard of that particular writing contest so winning it carries little prestige, even to people in the industry.
6) If You Need to Learn How to Deal with Rejection: Face it. Most people who enter writing contests don’t win. It hurts to hear “No,” but it’s a reality of being a writer. Each time we hear a “no” toughens us up a bit more and prepares us to do this writing thing for the long haul. Plus, as they say in sales, “Each ‘no’ brings you one step closer to ‘yes.’”
Writing contests have value, but only pursue them if they make sense for you and your situation.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.