My Twisted Writer Brain…

Writing Contests The Don’t, The Do’s, and The Accolades

If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know I’m a fan of writing contests.

Lately, there never seems to be enough time to prepare an entry, but that doesn’t mean My Twisted Writer Brain ever stops considering the possibilities of entering and (of course), winning.

The great thing about writing contests is that there’s lots of them. If you’re looking for a writing contest beware a few things…


If a contest has only one winner–I’d avoid it.

Think about it… you have to beat out EVERYBODY!

Even if yours is really good, someone else’s could be just a breath better and they take the win.

Nope. I don’t like that at all.

Imho, a contest should have at least first, second, and third place–and a few honorable mentions thrown in too.

You increase your odds of winning or placing with the more offered recognition given. Do the math. Pretty simple–one winner and 5,000 entries….yeah, not great odds.


Who are the judges?

I like to know who the judges are so I can study their bios and see if they have leanings toward certain types of writing.

Remember that sending your work out to be judged is all about opinion. Judges are only human after all.

If the judge, for example, is an edgy feminist, grounded in politics and protest, then I don’t know if I’d send in a rom-com or fantasy with alpha male characters.

Now, I’m not saying that the judge wouldn’t be fair and consider all but we all have our personal slants.


If a prize sounds too good to be true… listen to your gut.

I saw one on Facebook a couple of years ago and the top prize was $20,000!

Whoop whoop….what writer wouldn’t love that?

The thing is that the next prize down was like $200 for second and $100 for third. The contest had a very long time window (like months) before closing and was open world wide.

All of this set off bells and whistles and I steered away.

How can a contest be open for months and months? It doesn’t make any sense. They continue to collect entry fees but the prizes are skewed.

Something to think about.


Do keep track of your submissions.

You want to avoid submitted something twice to the same contest. OOPsy….

Along with the submissions, keep track of any contest winnings.


Have fun and enjoy the process.

For me, I love the challenge and the “chance” of winning.

If you don’t enter, you can’t ever win. So that’s the philosophy I try and put toward every entry I do. Hey, at least I took a stab at it and if I win–Yay Me and if I don’t–well, I’ll lick my wounds and move on.

Just a short word about the announcement of winners.

Omg…I don’t know how many times I’ve entered a contest and really–seriously– thought my entry was THE WINNER!! Like how could it NOT win?

Well, the judge picked something else to win.

The sense of rejection and total disbelief shakes me. Lol. Yup, you’d think I’d know better but hey, I believe.

So, be gentle with yourself if you don’t win. It’s really ok. We’ve all been there. Onwards and upwards.


Writing Contests can be so satisfying. The entries are a boost to your portfolio and resume

If anyone’s told you that contests don’t help your cv, then I bet they’ve never won.

To be able to list yourself as a winner is huge. It means industry validation and credibility to your writing abilities.

Don’t underestimate the power of a win no matter how big or small!

Even to receive an Honorable Mention is worth the effort of entering a writing contest because you know you’re on the right track. You may have the bones of a story that needs some more work and attention and who knows, maybe next time it’ll be a winner.

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4 thoughts on “Writing Contests The Don’t, The Do’s, and The Accolades”

  1. I enter the NYC Midnight Challenge, mainly because they give feedback. They give the judges a number and they state what they liked and what needed work.
    Best of all, they leave politics out of it. One of my recent entries had a woman daring her pal, another woman, to pay a visit to a red light district and dress the part. I can imagine this catching all sorts of red flags in some circles, but not here. They loved the characters, and their bond. In fact they wanted to know more. I didn’t win, but the critiques was fantastic.
    Philip Mann

    1. Hey Phil. Thanks for commenting. You know, that’s one contest I’ve never entered. It always seemed so spread out and expensive but now I see why. Feedback is invaluable for sure. I’m going to take a look at the site and maybe sign up for one. It could prove to be interesting. I hope you had a wonderful Holiday Season. 🎄. thx for stopping by. Always so appreciated. 😊

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