By Terry C. Misfeldt
Writers of every genre should consider competing for recognition by entering contests. Competitive writing stretches a writer’s composition skills and earns them credibility when they win. Of course, not every entry is a winner but it is worth trying.
The first step is awareness. There are many sites online promoting various writing contests. Your job is to find one that falls within your bailiwick and gives you a chance to win, place, or show to use a gambling term.
Second, learn the nuances. Who are the judges and do they review every entry, or is there a screener who eliminates some of the entries to make the judging less taxing on the final judge? How many words (please stay within the guidelines)? What is the deadline? What format must your entry be in? Is there an entry fee?
Third, if you can, review previous winning entries. There is no guarantee that writing something similar will increase your odds because the judges are likely different, but it gives you a sense of what wins.
Fourth, choose if you want to participate and start writing. You want enough time to finish your piece and edit it before submitting. You might also want to research the judge to know what he or she has written. That gives you an idea of what might appeal to them.
Last, finish your piece and submit it. Make sure you follow all the rules and guidelines, then wait to find out if you came out on top. And do not worry. If you win, great! If you don’t, consider it a learning experience and try again.