I ran across this contest on one of my favorite blogs, Sherry Zander’s Writing4Effect. This is a great opp for many of my writing buddies, but time is running out to enter. The Good Housekeeping Short Story Fiction Contest deadline is September 1st! Get your manuscript in. Check out more about the content, including rules and potential prizes at the contest link on the Good Housekeeping website.
This is just one of many opportunities that are out there. Check out the local writers’ associations where you live for more contests that may interest you.
Why participate in writing contests? Aside from the potential monetary and publication benefits, you’ll develop your writing portfolio and it’s also a great exercise in tuning not only your writing skills, but also those of performing within guidelines. Deadlines, word counts, focusing on a specific subject, accepting critique of your writing — all of these are important areas that will help you be a more polished professional. So let’s talk about these ideas.
Deadlines – Sticking to deadlines is a valuable skill. If you aspire to do freelance work, this is something you will have to learn to keep your clients!
Word Counts – Many of us writers have a hard time saying what we need to say in a concise and “to the point” manner. Again, this is an important skill. And entering these contests that set guidelines for you to work within will help you improve your ability to adhere to word counts. If you want to write for newspapers and/or magazines, you’ve got to pay attention to word counts. And what’s more, you cannot let yourself get upset when parts of your writing gets cut. It’s all part of the territory. It’s okay to get upset, but get over it. As someone who has been on the editor side of a publication, I understand the importance of balance copy with advertising space. Now that I am more on the writer side, it helps me to keep things in perspective when I do find parts of my column getting cut.
Subject focus - staying on target with your writing is another challenge. If you run off on tangents when you write, try practicing developing an outline for your writing project. Sometimes if you “map it” you can see how ideas fit into each other and this will assure that you are staying on the path.
Criticism of Writing - Like I said above, it is important that you are willing to let your writing be edited and this includes accepting constructive criticism by others. Think about joining a writing group that has a critique sector where you can practice both giving and accepting criticism.
Okay now you’re ready to start on those contest submissions. It might be too late for you to get your manuscript ready for the 2011 Good Housekeeping Fiction Contest, but there are plenty more opps out there (see the links below). Talk to your fellow writers, look online and be sure to check with some of your favorite publications to explore some of their contests.
Check it out and happy writing and competing!!
- Flash Fiction Writing Contest (With Prizes) (strugglingwriter.wordpress.com)
- Writers’ Village Story Contest Fall 2011 (teacherwriter.net)
- A quick poll on the 2011 Irreantum fiction contest (motleyvision.org)
- FenCon 2011 Short Story Free Writing Contest (teacherwriter.net)
- Entry for the “Elemental” Flash Fiction Contest (damyantiwrites.wordpress.com)
- Contests, Announcements,And Other Stu (clara54.wordpress.com)