Writing Competitions: Why Enter, And How To Maximise Your Chances Of Winning A Writing Competition

As a writer, or would be writer, you’ve probably seen writing competitions advertised, and you may even have thought about entering a writing competition. In this report I’ll look at entering writing competitions and how you can boost your chances of winning more competitions.

First, what are the benefits of entering writing competitions?

You get your work published.

If you win a writing competition you almost always get your work published. Sometimes, you get your work published as a runner-up too, or sometimes just for entering.

And that means you’re entitled to call yourself a published author. I can’t stress enough how much easier it is to get published again once you’ve been published once.

You expose your work to a wide audience.

Your work will come to the attention of many more people due to the fact many more people read work that is published as a result of being entered in a competition. And that audience could include useful and influential people, such as well known writers, editors, publishers and reviewers.

Most useful of all, you could even find a publisher as a result of entering a competition!

The money …. and other benefits!

Many writing competitions offer review, criticism and advice from experts which could be priceless. Also don’t forget the prize money. Even winning a few small, lesser known competitions which might only have small prize money could easily cover your  pocket expenses for the whole year.

So how can you maximise your chances of winning that writing competition?

* Focus on entering the right types of writing competitions. That is those which are looking for the types of writing you feel you are best at. Don’t waste time entering contents for types of writing you don’t feel that confident about.

* Know the difference between a writing competition and a literature competition. Writing competitions are usually for popular fiction and the emphasis must be on the plot. Literature competitions, on the other hand, are looking for creativity, clever use of language and a real depth to your writing.

*Try and be different. Even if the subject for the competition is closely stipulated. Avoid clichés at all costs.

* Know your judges. If the judges are established writers, which they often are, look at what they themselves have written and write accordingly. It’s inevitable that entries which chime most closely with their type of writing will receive a more favourable reception.

* Follow the rules exactly. Not just those on type of work and length but on presentation and submission too. In the event of a tie-breaker these can be used to disqualify entries.

* Proofread, proofread and proofread again. Typos make an entry stand out for all the wrong reasons and, again, could just tip the balance in a tie-breaker.

One last very good reason for entering as many writing competitions …. you stand a very good chance of winning. Many writing competitions, especially lesser known ones, don’t attract as many entries as you might think. If only a few hundred people enter the odds of winning are pretty good …. far, far superior to winning the lottery for example!

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