Why Entering Contests Boosts Writing
- Guidelines offer focus. Writing within parameters forces you to focus on your message. Word baggage is eliminated and the piece forms a tightly-written story. A theme provides focus, but it does not limit your imagination. Creativity in plot and word choice are limitless! Even genre-specific contests let you stretch your writing prowess by crafting a new world or twisting history.
- Attitude is everything. Did I stop writing when I didn't win in class? Heck, no. I never gave up. Instead, the competition and my lack of "prized success" pushed me to develop my craft by tuning in to what wasn't working in my stories. I never viewed those works as failures. They just weren't what the instructor was looking for. A positive attitude makes a difference, and I was positive to continue trying!
- Contests give writers permission to write. If you're set on entering a contest, you've given yourself permission to schedule time to write. Sometimes outside forces control the amount of time we dedicate to our craft, but knowing you have a deadline and plan to enter your best work gives you the say-so to make time to write.
- Writing increases confidence. I've entered several poetry contests and I've experienced some success. It's a confidence boost! Even when I didn't win the grand prize, I made fantastic discoveries: what judges are looking for, what writing styles do or don't work, how other writers approach the challenge. These lessons also boost belief in my work.
Entering a writing contest may be a big step for a writer, but it's an action that will enhance your writing.
by LuAnn Schindler. Read more of LuAnn's work at her website. Graphic design by LuAnn Schindler