I love entering writing competitions! I love the buzz of excitement that I get when I click ‘submit’ on a competition entry, and see it go winging its way into the inbox of someone who will judge it against other writers’ work. Then there’s the tension, when the day of the long-list reveal arrives, and the almost unbearable feeling of ‘what if?’, when I click on the Twitter link and look down the list, to see if my name is on it.
So far, it hasn’t been – but, who knows? Maybe one day it will be, and then the dog and I will be celebrating, instead of sitting quietly in our respective areas of the kitchen, as we are now.
Several of my writer friends got their agents through winning writing competitions, so, as an alternative to the slush pile, so it seems like it has a lot going for it. So far, the height of my achievements in competitions has been being selected as a runner up, and that was over two years ago now – but that hasn’t stopped me from keeping on trying, both in competitions designed for children’s writers, and in short story competitions for adults.
I have a notebook in which I keep a record of all the submissions I make, both to agents and to competitions, and a quick look at it tells me that in the last year, I’ve entered nineteen competitions. In twelve of those, the results are still pending (some long-lists have been delayed, due to Coronavirus). So, without even entering any more (although, let’s face it, I probably will!), I’ve still got twelve chances of success, in front of me. Some of them even offer a cash prize or the opportunity to meet with an agent – as well as the chance to mention a competition win, in the cover letter that I send out with my submissions.
So, what’s not to love? If you’ve written a story, a novel, a poem, flash fiction – whatever your writing happens to be – search online for competitions that you can enter it for. You never know what might happen if you’re long-listed, short-listed or – who knows – even a winner!