I promise I will return to my World Builder series next week, but I thought today I’d discuss writing competitions and why you should be entering them!
Stepping out of your comfort zone
Writing competitions are great for pushing us outside of what we’re comfortable with. Why is this great? Take it from an introvert, sometimes we need that push. Great things rarely happen inside our comfort zones.
The first competition I did was hard because it wanted a short story (as many do). Now I am not a short story writer. I can’t even keep my stories in a single novel, they always expand to become trilogies or longer.
It was way outside my comfort zone because of this, add to that the topic being a little different than what I normally write as well as writing to a deadline.
I did it anyway because sometimes that is what helps to develop you as a writer – trying new things. (I lost that competition but it was okay, the story I wrote became a new idea and ballooned into a full novel-size WIP).
Sharing your voice
If you want to be a published writer, you need to share your voice. People need to see your work and it doesn’t have to wait until you’re published.
Let future fans fall in love with your voice, your style, your ideas before a book is even finished.
Now maybe you’re an introvert like me and the idea of people reading your work fills you with dread (not really helpful for a writer, I know). Well, it’s time you started to get past that.
Better to do it in small steps sooner than finishing a novel and then struggling to ever release it. Competitions can be a great way of doing this.
They help to get you used to someone else reading your work. Daunting, I know. But kind of necessary if we want to be published someday.
Finding confidence in your writing
I’ve known some incredible writers who really think low about their work. Convinced it’s not good enough. When we hoard our work, it’s hard to get out of that mindset. We creatives are, by nature, our very worst critic.
However, we need to start being proud of our work, striving to get better. Competitions are a fun way of doing that. The competition gives you targets to aim for, such as managing deadlines, writing topics you’re not used to, changing styles such as writing type or POV.
By trying new things we develop our writing and so develop our confidence. The more we write the better we become.
By using writing competitions, it also stops you stagnating if you get stuck on your WIP. You might even fall in love with a new genre entirely.
Dealing with rejection
Let’s make no bones about this, you will not always win the competitions you enter. Heck, you might not win any. That’s okay.
If you only go into competitions with the singular goal of winning in mind, then you’re missing everything else I’ve mentioned above.
As writers, we are all going to have to deal with rejection whether that’s from a publisher, an agent or a reader. How we deal with those rejections, is more important.
Not winning does not mean entering was a waste of time, you learn so much and you continually improve yourself with each competition. Just like you do with each story you write or blog post you create.
Competitions are actually a great way of helping prepare you for possible rejections in the writing industry.
In the end, not everyone can win and sometimes it just won’t be your time. Never let that stop you from trying another competition because each time you learn something new.
Charity Writing Competition Feature
You can find many writing competitions with a quick Google search, but I wanted to shine a light on this one run by the READ Foundation, a charity that is striving to provide education to children in poverty.
This is a FREE TO ENTER Writing Competition open to people 18 or older and for those living in the UK. (See the READ Foundation competition page for full eligibility & submission details)
Do you have a passion for writing? The READ Foundation, a UK-based charity is accepting submissions for their 2018 writing competition.
The entry guidelines are simple: a poem, short story or first person essay on the theme of “My education helped me….”. This does not mean the writing has to start with this phrase, but this theme must be felt throughout the work. Submissions must be a maximum of 500 words and should be received before midnight on 10th October 2018.
We know how important education is in a young person’s life. Which is why we want entrants to help inspire the next generation of creatives by telling them all about the role education played in their own lives. We’re open to entries from all walks of life and abilities, so you don’t need to be a professional to enter: simply write from the heart.
There will be a winner and two runners-up chosen.
The winner’s entry will be displayed within hundreds of READ Foundation schools as well as published on the READ Foundation website.
The winner and the two runners-up will receive feedback on their work from critically acclaimed novelist Qaisra Shahraz.
About the READ Foundation
The READ Foundation was formed in 1994 and is a non-profit organisation who work towards providing school places for children living in poverty in rural Pakistan who otherwise cannot gain an education.
Every child deserves an education and so be given the chance of a brighter future. The READ Foundation works to create new opportunities for low-income families to send their children to school.
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Hope you enjoyed this blog post, I’ll be back after a well-needed rest this weekend with another Monday Marketing post.