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Why Writers Need Contests

One of the things I absolutely love about the writing community are all the contests. In general, a contest presents an opportunity for a writer to connect with an agent/editor/publisher. The real reward of such an experience is much, much deeper.

I wrote in my own isolated bubble for years. I first stepped out of the bubble to participate in Amazon’s Breakthrough contest (sadly this contest didn’t run this year). More important than throwing my writing out into the world: I joined the forums. I made friends. I LEARNED.

I cannot stress this enough. I learned. I was very green in my writing at this point. Other writers took me under their wings. They shared information and resources. They gave me feedback. Without this contest, without those forums and writers, I would not be where I am today.

I then joined twitter and started participating in the contests there. I hung out on the hashtag feeds, soaking up all the tips and tricks tweeted during contests. I learned again.

Many unpublished writers will call themselves “aspiring writers.” Many others say to remove the aspiring once you’ve written and polished. These contests removed the “aspiring” for me. It gave me the tools to learn, to improve my craft, to become the writer I was destined to be.

This is not about entering a contest and gaining an agent/publisher. That is the goal, always the goal, with writing. If you enter a contest, participate. Open your eyes and heart. Learn. There is so much information, absorb it. Grow as a writer. I’ve participated in many and while some of the information becomes old hat, there’s always something new to learn and a new friend to make.

Contests are about learning and growing as a writer. Jump in with both feet, absorb all you can. And regardless of the outcome: you’ve won.

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2 thoughts on “Why Writers Need Contests

  1. It wasn’t a contest that made me take the “aspiring” out of my title, but I completely agree with your assessment! It wasn’t until I really integrated into the NaNoWriMo community that I finally won–and being on Twitter and Facebook in writing groups has helped me just as much as meeting all my writer friends in grad school! Community is so very important to a solitary endeavor like writing, and contests are a great way to bring us all together.

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