If you are trying to make a name for yourself in the writing world, or develop your resume as a writer, winning writing contests is often the easiest way to accomplish this. Every year there are hundreds of different contests available and while the prizes may not be large, the recognition and industry backing you can gain make them well worth the effort.
There are two main types of writing contests – one for works that are already completed, and one for stories written entirely for the contest. If you are submitting an existing work to a contest, read the rules carefully to make sure that your work fits the guidelines. There is nothing worse than paying an entry fee only to have your work rejected because it did not fit the scope of the contest.
If you are writing a new piece for a contest, it is important to keep the right perspective. Consider your odds of winning, coupled with the amount of time that it will take you to complete the work. It's smart business to spend your writing time in the most effective way possible. Don't take your time away from an existing project if you do not feel confident that the contest is worth the effort.
One thing to remember however is not all writing contests are legitimate. There are many people who use these contests as a way to get easy money from writers and awards are either never given out or are entirely meaningless. If you want to enter a writing contest, take the time to research it first. If they have a good reputation and the award is worth winning, then enter. If not, it is better to spend your time doing what you do best – writing. If you keep honing your craft, you will gain recognition.