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Saturday, 30 October 2010


A short feature taken from C Hope Clarke’s weekly newsletter, with her kind permission.
Reproduced here, as it echoes my own opinion on writing competitions.
Some writers abstain from contests. They fear
someone will rob them of their material, or the sponsor seeks
only to make a buck. Contests are no different than markets,
publishers, and agents. Some are bad, some are good, and
some are exceptional and jumpstart your writing career.
Study a contest like you would an agent, publisher or market.
Research all you can about it then trust your gut. Don't be
shortsighted and don't assume anything. Any aspect of the
profession entails doing homework and making informed
What can a contest do for you?
1. Make you write.
2. Make you submit.
3. Make you meet a deadline.
4. Make you follow guidelines.
5. Make you test yourself.
Then, of course, contests can:
6. Provide a publishing clip.
7. Provide money.
8. Provide an opportunity with an agent.
9. Provide an opportunity with a publisher.
10. Provide feedback on the quality of your work.
Ninety percent of the time, if you've been scammed by
a contest, you did not do your homework. If people had
simply Googled "POETRY.COM" years ago when it was at the
height of its scamming profession, the company would have
gone under much sooner than it did.
At writing conferences, I coax writers to consider all
types of funding streams in furthering their profession,
to include contests. When I worked in agriculture, I
advised farmers to diversify. In other words, don't put
all your eggs in one basket. In addition to writing
articles for online and features for magazines, consider
freelance jobs, grants, and yes, contests.
The point is to be judged and deemed worthy, and a
contest can do just that.
C. Hope Clark
Editor, FundsforWriters,
Writer's Digest 101 Best Web Sites for Writers - 2001-2010
A decade of recognized excellence
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