In the last several days, three friends have recommended writing contests to me. Intrigued I began the process of reviewing each site, contests details, and the guidelines. Hour’s later after reading back issues and making a list of deadlines, I’m exhausted. Submitting is hard and time-consuming work.
But life has taught me, the best things come with hard work and perseverance.
Even if your story or essay isn’t accepted, submitting on a regular basis, provides advantages.
What’s in it for you?
- Themed contests are like prompts, spurring imagination and the desire to write.
- Deadlines help you prioritize time.
- Reading the works of others, introduce you to other writers and genres.
- Many magazines offer feedback and/or a written critique from the judges (a favorite perk of mine.) Who wouldn’t want to receive information which will improve your skill as a writer and likewise, increase your chance of acceptance?
- Practice makes perfect. You gain experience and knowledge with every submission and in the end, you might achieve your goal.
- Provides a venue for others to discover your work.
As you well know, if you follow Duotrope, statistics on acceptance rates for many are dismal. However, when you receive that acceptance letter or email, it’s magic and well worth the time and effort.
A note of Caution When Submitting:
- Read and follow the guidelines. A lack of compliance is a frequent complaint from many editors.
- Check and double-check spelling and grammar. Read aloud, listen to it on your Kindle, or ask a respected friend for feedback.
- Stay within the designated word count. Sounds easy enough, however, sometimes the title counts, sometimes it doesn’t. Knowing which will determine whether your story lands in the consideration or rejection pile.
- Know the basics of the contest. Is there a theme, particular genre, or is the contest open?
- Know whether it’s a blind submission or requires author identification.
- Format according to submission guidelines. The guidelines differ for each magazine or contest.
Remember, no risk, no gain.
Happy writing, submitting, and best of luck!