Why Should You Enter Writing Contests?

Why Should You Enter Writing Contests?

Merle Davenport

Many writers ask, “Why should I enter a writing contest? What’s the point?”

For some, entering a contest can be a distraction. For others, it seems pointless. Before you decide not to enter a contest, consider the following advantages. 

  1. You can earn money. Some contests don’t pay much, but it’s more than you had before, right? 
  2. You get inspired. Deadlines and writing prompts can serve as important motivations to write. It may even spark that idea you need to flush out your next novel. 
  3. You get bragging rights. Nothing is as rewarding as being recognized as a good writer. Contests are a great way to show the world your skills. Besides, you can add it to your accolades for your next query letter to sell your novel. 
  4. You can get published. Not all contests include publication, but some do. Getting published is the first step to launching your writing career. Just remember what great Christmas gifts your published articles would make. 
  5. You get noticed. Others will see your work and recognize a great artist in the making. 
  6. You get to do something new. Many contests will give you a prompt to write about. Others want you to write in a certain genre. Contests are your opportunity to branch out and write something outside of your comfort zone. 
  7. You can enter multiple pieces. The stories you think are amazing are not always the ones others enjoy. By entering several stories, you can discover what people like. You may even discover that your dud of a story is really a hidden gem waiting to get noticed. 
  8. You get invited to award ceremonies. As you start winning contests, you will be invited to ceremonies to accept awards. It’s a great way for others to celebrate your writing skills and gain recognition. 
  9. You get acquainted with deadlines. If you are not published, or if you self-publish, you may not have deadlines to meet like you would if you were working with a big-name publisher. Con- tests can familiarize you with meeting deadlines instead of writing whenever your muse strikes. 
  10. You get to hone your writing skills. This is the best reason to enter contests. Receiving comments on your stories from other writers is invaluable. Other writers can see what you need to improve that others might miss. 
  11. Developing your plot in a short story forces you to choose your words carefully. You don’t have the space to wander. You must tell the beginning, middle, and end of the story with an economy of words. 
  12. The more often you enter a contest, the more you will see your stories score better and better. This will show you that you are learning the craft of writing. 
  13. As you improve your writing skills in the contests, you will find that your skills will also improve in other works, including that novel you’re working on.

The bottom line is that entering contests can be very helpful to your writing career. Find some inexpensive contests and start writing that masterpiece. 

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