Why should you try your luck? Well, not for the sake of winning, but for your own good. Hundreds of entries enter most competitions. Submitting your work and automatically expecting victory is therefore nonsense. But there are several other reasons why you could try to get actively involved.
The more you write, the better you get. Some competitions allow you to unleash your imagination. You have an infinite space (that is, almost) to go wild.
Other competitions offer one or more restricted themes and topics your work must contain. It can clip your wings and your great idea about a school for mermaids in the jungle you nourished for a long time can hardly satisfy the demand for “stories from the desert and the quarry.”
But that doesn’t matter. Let the mermaids be educated in another story, which you send to a suitable competition. And work on something new here. New and new assignments allow you to think from a different perspective, to think about new things…
Have you ever tried to write a short story in the form of a letter correspondence? No? Get started! Are you a dog lover and you don’t like the topic of robotics, but still would like to participate in that sci-fi competition? You don’t have to skip this year and hope that there will be some better topic next time. You can still come up with a robot dog and place the story in a nature reserve, cough, cough, a description of your favorite forest where you go with your dogs. Although the topic can sometimes seem unmanageable at times, there are ways to put your heart into your work and still meet the criteria. All you have to do is practice and you will open a lot of doors to yourself in the creative corner of your mind.
You have been working on it for three years. It’s your dream book. Reaaaly. You want to work on it. You already have… three pages!
Well, you won’t get anywhere like this. While you are the master of your free time, writing competitions have one small ugly thing. DEADLINE! Yes, the organizers really want your completed work by a certain, ruthless date. Send five minutes later and nothing will save you.
The permitted range is also a big limitation. The organizers ask for no more than fifteen pages? Maybe only one page. A standard page. You can’t reduce the number of characters with a smaller font. It will teach you to cross out the unnecessary and whisk your scenes.
If you want to compete, you have to practice. It can be tiring. It can sometimes drive you to the brink of despair. But don’t give up.
You may find that if you really want to, you can find that hour or two several times a week and you will actually write a few pages.
Competitions, even without a prize, will help you forge iron nerves and steel buttocks. And then you may find that the three pages of your dream book are no longer three. You are working regularly and you are actually nearing the end of your big story.
The organizers of the competitions usually want to announce the results and present the prizes in a ceremonial spirit. If you get an invitation, go there. Sometimes the order of the winners is already known on the website or via radio. Other times you can hope until the very end. Getting the prize or not, you usually see a pleasant program, meet new people, and possibly enjoy some food. Cultural events are healthy for the psyche. Usually.
Winning is not impossible. And it is useful.
This article may sound like you should forget about success right away. It’s not like that. Competitions are for everyone, not just the chosen ones. Even a post with grammatical errors can dazzle with a great plot and minor shortcomings are sometimes forgiven.
Let me just repeat the introduction: Hundreds of entries enter most competitions. Submitting your work and automatically expecting victory is, therefore, nonsense.
But you can win!
And why is it good besides feeling great? Depending on the competition, you can receive a more or less valuable reward. Sometimes it is a considerable financial reward. Or an offer to publish a book.
A package of sweets and a diploma will also warm your heart. And be sure to keep that diploma! The more you have, the more you can impress some future publishers.
And what about you? Do you like writing competitions?