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You’ve been dedicated. You’ve scribbled, drafted, edited, revised and polished. You’ve even given your work over to trusted friends for feedback. Now, you want to see your writing stand up on its own two and walk. Maybe run.
So, have you checked out writing contests?
Here are three good reasons to consider entering one:
- A deadline – Even the pros with scores of books under their belts suffer from either procrastinating to write or never finishing their revisions. Having a hard and fast deadline can be a good cure for either problem.
- Gut check – Most contests cost something up front — usually between $15-$35 — but that should serve as a mini-moment of truth. Is your writing ready for public consumption? And is this contest the right one for your work?
- Payoff – Yes, winning a contest has its benefits — publication, a little cash and an ego boost — but even if you don’t land the prize, you should be proud because you wrote; you polished; you gave it a shot. The only failures are when you aren’t trying.
If you’re looking for a writing contest to enter — be it for short stories, poetry, non-fiction and essays, etc — check these websites for some of the best:
- GlimmerTrain.com - The good folks at Glimmer Train are among the biggest supporters of new, emerging writers. They only publish the unpublished and have a nice variety of contest options. Good place to start.
- Poets & Writers – This huge database includes grants and fellowships too, so if you’re on *that* level with your writing, it can be a big help. It’s fairly easy to search and sort.
- NewPages.com – Clean and dead simple to figure out. This list is sortable by deadline with enough details to get you started and a link for more information.
- TerribleMinds.com – Our buddy Chuck Wendig doesn’t pay winners but he doesn’t charge either. Instead, ol’ Cherk wants to push you to be productive and creative. Baby-step into contests with one of his Flash Fiction Challenges.
- Writer’s Digest – They’ve recently added a Self-Published Book Award to their big annual Writing Competition and the slate of genre fiction contests. The prizes include cash and a bundle of other goodies.
So start with these, give it a spin. Tell us your writing contest story. Has it helped you? Did you run into a scam? Have you won a contest before? Do you think Crossroads should do one?
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