Five Facts About Writing Contests

By Lynda Lee Schab

Thinking about entering a writing contest? Here are a few things you may want to keep in mind:

The best things in writing aren’t always free. People often complain about writing contests that aren’t free. Hey, free contests are great, but they also tend to be sponsored by huge publications that have huge prize budgets or wealthy donors. And that equals huge competition for you. Yes, someone has to win and it could be you. You have nothing to lose, so definitely go for it!

More often, however, you’ll find paying contests. Sometimes the fees go towards the prize kitty. But more often, the the money goes towards the organization’s administrative costs. Many people do not realize the time, expenses, and manpower required to run a website. Not to mention to organize and manage a writing contest.

Writing contests keep the creative juices flowing. Particularly contests based around a topic, phrase, or word. Let’s face it. Sometimes writers could use a little help in the inspiration department. And contests are a great way to give us that nudge we need.

Growth Guaranteed. IF you take constructive criticism well, of course. Entering contests allows us to get our work read and often critiqued by industry pros or published writers. In other words, people who know what they’re talking about. The feedback alone is well worth any conference fee (see #1). And if you take that feedback and actually apply it to your writing, you will emerge a better writer. Guaranteed.

You could get noticed. As mentioned above, many contests consist of a judging panel of agents and editors, which means there is the possibility that they will like your work enough to request seeing more of it. Which puts you one step closer to that contract.

Beware of BHS (Big Head Syndrome). Okay, so you’ve been entering contests for a while now and you’ve been finaling, or even winning. This may cause your ego to make a grand appearance. But remember that verse in Proverbs about pride coming before a fall? Don’t get to the point where wearing a padded suit is required. Try to maintain a humble spirit. Yes, it’s fun to win but keep in mind the reasons you write. If you’re a Christian, hopefully it’s to glorify God – not yourself.




lyndaschabLYNDA LEE SCHAB got her writing start in greeting cards and has many articles and stories published in magazines and online publications. She works behind the scenes at, is a regular book reviewer for, but Lynda’s passion has always been fiction. Her novels, MIND OVER MADI and MADILY IN LOVE, are available in print and on Kindle. Lynda lives in Michigan with her two children. Learn more about Lynda on her website,

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