For many writers, both newbies and veterans, writing contests are an exciting way to get their work out there, earn recognition, and even bag some prizes. Not only can winning or placing in such contests bolster your writing resume, but the process itself can be incredibly rewarding. Ready to dive in? Let’s chart your path to contest success!

1. Pick the Right Contest for You Start by choosing a contest that aligns with your strengths and interests. Example: If you have a knack for writing haunting short stories, seek out contests that cater to this genre.

2. Understand the Rules Each contest has its own set of rules—word count, theme, submission format. Ensure you adhere to these to avoid disqualification. Example: The ‘Fantasy Writers Annual’ might require a story set in a non-Earth realm and be no more than 5,000 words.

3. Set the Tone and Craft Your Piece Writing for contests often means adapting to specific themes or prompts. Understand the tone they’re looking for and craft your piece accordingly. Example: If the contest theme is ‘rebirth’, you might pen a story about a phoenix or a person’s journey of self-discovery.

4. Master Proper Formatting Presentation can be almost as important as content. Proper formatting makes your work look professional and readable. Example: Always check whether the contest prefers double-spaced entries or has a specific font requirement.

5. Revise, Revise, and Revise Again First drafts are rarely perfect. Polish your piece multiple times to ensure it shines. Example: After her third revision, Elise noticed an inconsistency in her story’s setting, which she promptly fixed.

6. Seek External Feedback Before submitting, have a friend or a fellow writer read your work. Fresh eyes can catch mistakes you might have overlooked. Example: Jonah shared his poem with a friend, who pointed out that the rhythm was off in one stanza.

7. Submit with Confidence, but Manage Expectations Once you’re satisfied, submit your piece! However, remember that contests are subjective, and judging can vary widely. Celebrate the fact that you put yourself out there. Example: Even if Sarah didn’t win first place, the feedback she received from judges immensely helped her grow as a writer.

In Conclusion Writing contests are a wonderful avenue to challenge yourself, gain exposure, and receive feedback. Win or lose, the experience can be a stepping stone to bigger writing achievements. So, polish that piece, submit with pride, and remember: every contest is a learning opportunity.

Here’s a HUGE list of writing contests and book awards