Creative Writing Competitions – to do or not to do?

Creative Writing Competitions – to do or not to do?

I often ask myself why I enter Creative Writing Competitions as the outcome is more often than not, an email saying: “Thank you for your entry but unfortunately on this occasion, your story is not among the winners.” So why do I (and thousands of others) keep on trying?

I’m going to be really honest here. Because sometimes you win, or get short-listed, or long-listed. Because someone has connected with something you have written in isolation and that’s satisfying. Sometimes you get to see you work in print and that’s a great feeling. Sometimes you get a cheque in the post and that’s a good feeling too. Sometimes the success can help raise your profile.

So apart from a brief ego-trip, what do they offer a writer?

For me they give me an impetus to write and a deadline to work to. They offer a chance to write to a word count, to edit and edit and edit again. Sometimes they are the catalyst to work on a particular theme, to push the boundaries and work outside my normal comfort zone. And they give an opportunity to experiment with form.

I’m currently writing a story to submit to The Bridport Prize which allows a maximum word count of 5,000 which is more than most competitions specify. This is a new development for me as most of my stories come in around the 3,000 word mark, so a good opportunity to practise an extended short story.

How do you feel about Creative Writing Competitions? To do or not to do, that is the question.

Small is beautiful

Small is beautiful

Real Gower: a conversation between texts

Real Gower: a conversation between texts