When you’re wondering how you can get acclaimed as an author, writing contests rarely come to mind. You mostly think about getting active on Goodreads, starting your Facebook fan page, and collaborating with Instagram influencers, who could promote your work. What if a writing contest is exactly what you need?
Yes; it’s extra work that may sound too challenging. But you’re a writer, after all. Why would you have a problem with a writing challenge?
You’re still not sure about this? We’ll list the pros and cons of entering writing contest. After that, you decide!
The Pros of Entering Writing Contests
- A Writing Contest Will Help with Personal Branding
When you win a writing contest, it means you’re getting published. When you’re about to start publishing your work, this is the primary benefit you get.
Daniel Rudic, an editor at UK BestEssays, agrees with that: “If you enter a reliable and well-known writing contest and you become a laureate, you basically get free promotion. Publishers will get interested in your work. When you contact someone with a draft, you can include the win in your biography and it will certainly look good.”
- You Can Win a Cash Prize
Most contests have cash prizes, and let’s be honest: that’s the biggest motivation for writers to enter. L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest, for example, awards up to $1000 on every three months, and $5000 for the winner of the grand prize. Graywolf Press hosts a high-class writing contest with a prize of $12,000 plus publication.
- Contests Inspire You to Write
Let’s say you see a great essay contest with a topic “What our lives would look like without technology.” It’s a pretty simple topic at first sight. It looks like an assignment a high-school student would get. But when you scratch the surface, even the simplest topic can be turned into a beautiful, elaborate essay.
The themes of writing contests can inspire you to research topics you’ve never been interested before. These challenges add new dimensions to your work, so you can benefit from them on the long term.
- They Teach You How to Manage Time
When you work on your big novel and you still don’t have a deal with a publisher, you tend to miss your own deadlines. You don’t feel inspired to write, so you just skip a day or two, until the procrastination turns to a week or two.
That can’t happen when you want to enter a writing contest. It comes with a deadline and if you miss it, your entry won’t be accepted. So you simply have to put yourself together and write that entry if you want to participate.
- You Don’t Have Much to Lose
Even though many contests come with an entry fee, you won’t lose much. Sure, you’ll lose that money if you don’t win, but you’ll have a polished out piece. You can publish it on your blog and trigger a discussion. You may even save it for an entry to another contest.
The Cons of Entering Writing Contests
- It May Bring the Worst Out of You
This is possibly the biggest disadvantage for most writers. They become overly competitive. When they don’t win, they feel like they’ve lost. They start criticizing the winning entries. They are firmly convinced that their work was better and it deserved the win.
If you realize you’re falling down that road, snap out of it! It’s your ego and it has to learn how to deal with competition. Another writer may win. Accept that. You’ll have your chance, too. You just need to keep writing.
- Some Contests Require Exclusive Submissions
Many contests will not allow you to submit the same piece anywhere else while they last. This means that you’ll have your work tied up in a single place over the course of several months. Maybe you’ll win and that will be great. But maybe you won’t and that means losing a lot of time, even though you’ll get the right to use that content once the contest wraps up.
- A Contest May Distract You from Your Big Goals
Let’s say you’re working on a novel. You spot a great contest for essays or short stories and you decide to enter. It’s fun and it inspires you to write, so you search for another contest to enter. One contest after another, and you may forget all about that big project that’s waiting for your attention.
Contests are great, but you mustn’t let them distract you from your real job as a writer.
Will a contest do you well? Absolutely! However, you must be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages, so you’ll gain the ultimate benefits from this opportunity.