on Writers Helping Writers:
If you’ve ever participated in a writing contest, you’ll know that it’s one of the most exhilarating, motivating, and overall craft-stimulating experiences you can have as a writer. Indeed, what starts off as a modest contest entry can even turn into a much bigger project, like a book.
However, the flip side of the coin is that if you’ve entered multiple writing contests and still haven’t won, the experience can become intimidating, demoralizing, and frustrating.
I’ve personally been on both sides of the contest conundrum: I’ve lost time and time again and felt incredibly discouraged, then had all faith in my writing restored after a win. And recently, my knowledge of writing contests has gained yet another dimension — the perspective of a judge, as I help decide the winner of a weekly contest we hold at Reedsy.
My experience as both a writing contest participant and a judge has given me a finely-honed sense of what contributes to a winning entry… and what doesn’t. To that end, here are five innovative strategies that could help you win — some of which I’ve used myself, some of which I’ve seen in action, but all of which have proven concretely successful.