W is for Writing Contests

a-to-z-letters-wFinally, I have bitten the bullet and actually decided to write about what I actually do for a living… writing. It seemed a “case of the bleeding obvious” to write about writing so I thought I’d write about something specific to writing: ie/ writing contests.

Up until now I really didn’t feel my novel was in good enough shape to submit to writing contests, but the month of May is going to change all that. These contests don’t require you to submit your entire manuscript. How would the judges get ANYTHING done? No. Each contest is very specific about word count and submission guidelines. Some just want the first X amount of words; some want chapters: some want specific scenes.

And so, on my magnetic board on my office wall I have 7 contests I will enter for the month of May.  The entry fees aren’t that exorbitant (and yay, they are tax deductible anyway), but I feel it’s time to put my toe in the water and see how my bits and pieces of work will be received.

Now, I have heard all sorts of horror stories about contests. You can get awful judges who rip you to shreds while others praise you to the skies. I’ve heard of great stories too, where it’s helped people land an agent or a publishing deal. Either way, in order to tell my own stories of  joy or horror, it’s time I take the plunge.



The truth is, I’m excited to enter the competition world with this novel. At the end of the day, like most things in life, you have to be willing to put yourself out there. For me this is really about taking that step and entering. I’m tough enough to handle critiques. I’m also seasoned enough to know that these things are subjective up to a point and to be able to stand by my own work.

Also, by stating it here, on this blog, that I am entering SEVEN (gulp) competitions in the month of May, I’m now beholden to my word. Please kick my arse if I don’t stick to it.


  1. stephscottil says:

    I’m curious which contests you’re entering, if you don’t mind me asking. Or general categories–are they blog hosted, or writing journal sponsored contests?

    I agree with you on the mixed feedback, but if you sense a pattern from the feedback, that is valuable information. Also, it can guide you toward changes you might not have thought of, after you weigh the feedback a bit first. Also, nothing is more motivating than a deadline and the thought of a stranger judging your work!

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