Wednesday, April 27, 2011

TO ENTER CONTESTS? OR NOT ENTER CONTESTS?


Dusty Richards giving Velda Brotherton her award at 2010 OWFI Conference

As the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. (OWFI) conference looms, there is a certain excitement and dread among those who have entered the contests. They have visions of hearing their name called for the first place award, and maybe, just maybe—oooohhh they hope so much— for the crème de la crème award.
I remember refusing to read my entries after I sent them off because I just knew I’d find mistakes. Even so, I’d mentally go over what I’d submitted and anguish over imagined spelling and grammar errors.
Contests are emotionally draining.
That said, they are also a good thing, if for no other reason than they inspire us to write. Not only that, they motivate us to try different genres. Nearly everything I’ve entered in contests, whether they won or not, have been sold and published.
I rarely enter contests now, simply because I’m too busy writing. But as a beginning writer, contests were excellent writing exercises. They helped me find my niche and by constant writing I also found my unique voice. Winning money sweetened the experience, but I actually learned more by losing.
Over the next few posts I want to explore the contest experience with some helpful advice and encouragement.
What is your experience with contests? What are your feelings about contests? Do you have a contest story? I invite your comments!

2 comments:

Raquel Byrnes said...

I've heard both sides argued about contests. I've had friends final and still not find an agent. I've had friends wash out in the first round, take the critiques to heart and revise...and find an agent despite not winning.

The emotional roller coaster is too much for me though.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Karen Barnes Jordan said...

Thanks for the input about contests. I agree with you about motivating us to try different genres. I just recently did just that--I entered a fiction and poetry contest--totally out of my area of expertise. So, we'll see ...