How many of you enter contests? My critique group challenges each other to enter. In fact, we often enter the same ones, pitting us against each other. It’s fun when we win together as we did last year at OWFI.
POLISH, POLISH, POLISH: Contests are about more than winning. It’s about focusing on your craft. We polish our stories to the point where we couldn’t possibly look at them again, then we submit.
SUPPORT SYSTEM: It’s hard work and because of that it’s important to do it together or to at least have a support system in place. No writing takes place in a vacuum. We may create alone, but we never publish alone. Bring the whole team together before you submit your writing.
GUIDELINES: Never take any guideline for granted. Whatever is listed, follow it to the letter. The last thing you want is to have your story rejected for something as silly (to our way of thinking) as formatting when you could have done it right and WON. The people running the contest have good reasons for those guidelines and as professional writers we have to adhere to them.
SHARE: Writing is enough work, but add social networking, marketing, etc. and when does a writer have time for anything else? When you hear about a contest, share it with other writers. We’re all in this together, an ever-growing community of artists. Help each other out. None of us have time to find them all, and beginning writers may not even know where to look.
In that vein, here are some I know about (and do feel free to share these with others):
Dead of Winter: Winter-themed contest
Literal Latte Fiction Award
National Writers Association Novel Writing Contest
On the Premises (These are fun)
What are some of your favorite contests?