Saturday, October 11, 2008

contests as inspiration

After a necessary hiatus, my contests column at The Write Place is back. I posted all NEW contests for your perusal (click the "contests" link on left).

Why consider contests?

1. Contests come with deadlines--which I've found many writers need. Yes, including me. Deadlines give us a date when we must complete a project and actually send it out by U.S. mail or submit online.

2. Contest topics can entice you to try a genre you haven't tried before. It's a good stretching exercise.

3. Topics also generate new ideas and/or subjects for you to explore as a writer.

4. If you win an award (even honorable mention), your confidence rises as does your potential credibility with editors and manuscript readers.

5. As you move from the category of honorable mention to third, second, and first place winner, use these markers of ability as a way to track your growth as writer and communicator. And revel in the boost these awards give your sense of confidence!

6. Monetary benefit. 'Nuff said.

7. Public recognition. Others begin to notice your name appearing on winners' lists, which widens your recognizability with readers and editors, creating connections with potential audiences for your future work.

Of course, beware the bad contests. This deserves a separate post, but in the meantime, read the excellent article by Victoria Strauss, "Warnings and Cautions for Writers--Contests and Vanity Anthologies."

And check out the writing contests at my site, updated bimonthly.