Want to test your writing skills? Entering contests is one of the easiest ways to do this. I know a lot of you write, but you don't submit because you haven't developed the thick skin necessary to withstand the slings and arrows of rejection.
Perhaps 2010 is the year to start testing your writing by entering contests? Trust me, just sending something in for a contest is an accomplishment. The act of showing your work, even to anonymous judges, requires intestinal fortitude that will help you attain the guts necessary to submit to an agent or publisher.
Growth Often Requires Pain
Get rejected. Break the ice. Lose your writing virginity. That's what it takes to become a pro writer. If you decide to contest, please know that some contests charge entry fees. If a contest that interests you charges a fee, make sure that the contest is credible and always announces a winner.
My Best Advice
You don't want to waste your time and money on a contest mill that exists only to line the organizer's pockets. Ultimately, only pay an entry fee if the contest is well-known, and you sincerely feel you have a shot at placing or winning.
How do you know you have a chance to win or place? That's what submitting and entering is all about. You'll learn whether your work is as good as you hope or as bad as you fear. Usually, it's somewhere in between, but you need to discover that for yourself. Then you write and write and write. Practice does make perfect.
Here are 4 writing contests with deadlines in January. Start today. Polish and get your work ready to enter. This is a doable goal.
Dixon-Ryan Fox Manuscript Prize
Deadline: January 20, 2010.
This is offered for the best unpublished book-length manuscript dealing with some aspect of the history of New York State.
The Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction
Deadline: January 30, 2010 postmark.
Award: $1,500.00 and publication.
Note: Entry fee of $20.00.
Offered annually to published and unpublished writers, this is for collections of novella and/or short story collection manuscripts of 150-300 typed pages.
G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction
Deadline: January 15, 2010.
Award: $1,000.00 and publication by BkMk Press
Note: Entry fee of $25.00.
This is offered for the best unpublished book-length collection of short fiction in English by a living author.
Annual One-Act Playwriting Contest
Deadline: January 31, 2010.
If playwriting is your interest, this contest is offered to encourage playwrights to develop new plays for teen and family audiences and is offered by Tada Youth Theater.
Sending your work out into the world requires courage, but only by doing so will you discover the truth of your words.