Monday, 8 September 2014

Competitions Lead To New Work Being Created

Well it was a surprise when I received this trophy at the NAWG Festival of Writing last month. During the festival there is a competition to write a mini-tale of 100 words … and it has to be exactly 100 words long. The closing date for entries is 3.15pm on the Saturday of the festival, and then the winner is announced during the festival’s gala dinner, later that evening. To make judging impartial entrants have to submit their entry using a pseudonym … and before you ask, no, I didn’t use my pornstar name (as I did last year).  I was delighted to discover that my tale was judged to be the winner.

Writing competitions are useful. Not only are they a delight if you win them, but they’re great for developing your writing skills. They can stretch your creativity (and writing something of exactly 100 words certainly does that). The word count also focuses the mind when it comes to editing, because you know it’s vital you don’t submit an entry with more words than the rules allow. And the deadline gives you something to aim for.

More importantly, in my opinion, is that even if you don’t win the competition has forced you to create something new. I’ve often gone on to sell a story, or an article, that started off as a competition entry, which failed to win. Once you’ve created something you have a piece of work that you can adapt, edit and send off.

So, the next time you see a writing competition, don’t just think about the opportunity of winning a shiny trophy, or a cash prize. Think of it as an opportunity to create something new.


Good luck.

10 comments:

  1. Grand advice, Simon. Much of my new work results from entering competitions - the need to perfect a piece before the closing date is a great incentive.

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    1. The deadline certainly focusses the mind, doesn't it, Jacqueline?

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  2. That makes perfect sense Simon, I will have to try entering something or submitting something. I have a definite block there which needs to be overcome.

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  3. OMG, I have actually managed to make a comment appear where it should. Usually I get thrown out as soon as I put a toe over the door. The magic of your blog must be working on me. Competitions here I come

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    1. Hooray! I'm glad I'm helping someone!

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    2. Me too Sally but I have been successful today too!!!! LOL

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  4. This is so very true and excellent advice. I read an earlier post of yours ages ago which inspired me to take a different attitude to competitions for exactly the reasons as above. This works folks, it is great advice! Many thanks Simon.

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    1. That's brilliant news! I'm so glad it was helpful.

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  5. Yes, nothing is ever wasted - even if you don't win, the process is something you learn from, and defeat is character building anyway. The material may be forgotten, but come back in some form many years down the line. I just wish there were more non-fiction competitions out there! Anyway - congrats on your win, Simon!

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