Writing

Why Writing Competitions are the Best

There are plenty of places to find competitions. Give it a Google, I can assure you that you will find plenty of writing competitions to sift through, it really is a great way to procrastinate and loose a few hours.

Magazine Writing Competitions

I have focused in on two places for my writing competition fix.

The first is Writing Magazine. When I decided that I was going to take this whole writing malarkey seriously, along with buying plenty of new pens and notepads, I signed up for Writing Magazine. I have it sent directly to my door every month and skip straight to the competition pages. They seem to have at least five competitions in every issue.

Not that I enter all the competitions. I am happy to admit to my limitations, when it comes to writing poetry I leave that to those who actually have a poetic bone in their body.

As a subscriber, I get to enter those competitions that are only open to subscribers. I don’t think I’m really aiming to win, I just want a chance to practice my writing.

I’ve been published!

My favourite competition that I have entered so far is with The Write Practice. I can’t remember how I came across this website but I’m really glad that I did. Not only do they hold writing competitions but you can apply to get feedback from the judges even if you don’t win.

Even better than that is that everyone who enters, has the option to have their work published. Of course I said yes!

As this was one of the first competitions that I had entered, I figured it would be great to get feedback from someone who knows what they’re talking about. When you’re writing a novel, and don’t have anyone to let you know if what you’re writing is any good, it can be good to get some guidance on what you’re producing as a writer.

Of course, the moment I clicked that I would like feedback I regretted it. What if they very kindly but firmly advised me not to give up the day job? Writing is my day job!

Peer Review

The competition has two deadlines.

  • Polished first draft. This is about a week before the final deadline. You must enter your story to be workshopped alongside the other entrants.
    • Once you have entered your story into the workshop, other entrants can see it and comment on it. This is great for getting feedback before you submit your final draft.
  • The final draft. Once you’ve handed this one, it’s out of your hands.
    • I have entered two competitions on this site now (still waiting to hear back about the second one). Both times I immediately regretted clicking submit. I doubt I’ll ever get over that feeling!

The number of entries ran well into the hundreds, for the competition and I had to wait quite a while to hear anything, whilst they sifted through all the entries.

Positive and Constructive Feedback

I didn’t win. I didn’t expect to on my first attempt but I did get my feedback and it was all positive. I could have fainted with relief. There were two judge’s feedback;

  • I managed to distinguish between each character’s voice well
  • The premise was an interesting and engaging one
  • But it felt more like the beginning of a story rather than a self-contained short story.
    • I certainly agreed with them on this point. I know I have trouble with restrictions on the word count. I am grateful for stories with short word counts, they really help to focus the mind on what is important and what can be deleted.