Do you consider entering writing competitions? Student Sarah Husselmann has and she's now landed herself a regular column in her local magazine!
There are thousands of writing competitions out there, but I usually advise writers to target the smaller competitions first - the ones that don't get quite so much publicity. That way you'll reduce the number of other writers competing against you too!
Winning, or being placed in a competition not only gives you a huge psychological boost (YOUR writing was chosen above all the other entrants) but it is also something worth putting on your writing CV. When you approach other editors with ideas, being able to mention that you came first in a competition on a similar subject, gives you extra authority.
You never know where a competition win may lead. I once won a travel writing competition in a small magazine, and on the strength of that was asked by another magazine to produce a feature on my local county. So not only did I get a win, and something to put down on my CV, I also got a commission out of it too. Sarah now has a regular column, so she'll be getting plenty of writing experience now - and best of all, when she approaches other editors with idea, she can legitimately tell them that she is regularly published, and has a monthly column. And that may not have happened had she not entered the competition in the first place.
So next time you see a competition advertised, why not consider submitting an entry? Not only will the writing experience be a useful one, but you never know where it may lead.
PS - I'd also like to say congratulations to Penny Legg, who has been offered a wonderful writing opportunity. She's written numerous articles and pieces for local publications and now, she's got to make what could be a life changing decision - and I bet it's one she never thought she'd be making when she started her Writers Bureau course!