Today I’m a debuting a new question and answer feature on the site.
The first question is should you enter a writing contest?
I’ll answer that with a maybe.
Writing contests have been pretty good for me so I might be a little biased with my response. The first money I earned as an author was via a writing contest.
The reasons I’d say go for it include-
Learning to meet a deadline. If you’re a beginning writer getting into the habit of writing to a deadline and staying motivated can be tough but if you have a contest to enter then it puts that necessary pressure on you. You learn self discipline which all writers need to succeed.
You feel like you’re actually a writer. Many people say they’re going to write and never do so sometimes entering a contest can give you that much needed kick up the butt.
Will you get feedback from a published writer? Some contests have an added bonus (and sometimes you have to pay for it), but you get a critique of your work. If you’re looking for some valuable feedback then that’s the way to get it. And note here when I say published writer. I entered a few where I later found out the judges were just like me, unpublished, and all they could offer was advice that wasn’t helpful at all.
If you win, it makes you feel good, it makes you feel like you’re a writer and gives you something wonderful to include in your cover letter to an editor or an agent.
If you win, you can get published or even win money.
I’d say no, don’t do it if any of the following apply-
You’re going to be shattered and maybe give up writing if you don’t win.
There’s a contest entry fee and it’s more than you can afford to lose.
So bottom line is pick each contest by its own merits and don’t get disheartened if you don’t win because lots of writers enter contests.
If you have a question you’d like answered just leave a comment or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.