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.