Free writing contests are a great exercise in creativity that can also give your resume a boost. LoveToKnow Freelance Writing is here to help you find out where to enter and what to keep in mind.
Free Writing Contests: What's the Point?
Free writing contests can:
- Expand your creativity with writing prompts, new topics, and varied formats
- Enhance your resume
- Bring in some extra cash if you win
- Boost your self-esteem as a writer
All of these are valuable rewards, even if you're not a professional writer. In addition, free contests aren't limited to just traditional fiction or poetry. There are contests out there for those who strictly write nonfiction. In addition, if you're an aspiring screenwriter, there are contests out there for you.
If you place or just get an honorable mention or publication, these submissions will quickly make excellent additions to your resume that will boost your credibility when it comes to scoring paying jobs. Hey, if the judges said you were outstanding, then you must be! Potential employers will recognize that when they make their hiring decisions. A small investment of time could pay off greatly when it comes to getting your foot into the writing industry, or just a new facet of the writing industry.
Entering Writing Contests
When you enter writing contests, pay careful attention to the guidelines as well as the deadline. You could have a winning piece on your computer, but if you don't remember to print it out and send it in time, you'll never know due to disqualification. Your submission could also go into the junk pile if you don't include all of the information the contest guidelines requested.
Where to Enter
There are plenty of writing contests online to enter for free, and even more if you include those that sometimes run in print magazines. Keep an eye open for contest entry calls in your favorite magazines. Publications like Glamour even have contests. You might be surprised by the ones you find when you're looking for them in the magazines you already read. Here are a few online:
- Fiction Factor lists fiction contests, such as short story, humor essay, flash fiction, true story, and more. Many of them are ongoing and there's a new winner every month. Make sure you check the blurb listed for each contest; some on this page do have small entry fees.
- Jerry Jazz Musician doesn't sound like a writing competition site, does it? However, they host contests three times a year, asking for previously unpublished short stories from 1,000 to 5,000 words.
- Storyhouse is hosting general and travel nonfiction contests that end on August 31, 2008, but keep checking back for future contests.
- The Toasted Cheese Literary Journal offers an ongoing list of contests. If you enter, you give exclusive electronic rights to Toasted Cheese for 90 days.
- SFReader has a short story contest. You will have to review one or two books (see site for more details) in order to have your short story considered.
- Voices Net has semi-annual contests for poetry. They must be original works. Scroll to the bottom of the page for submission guidelines.
- First Writer is teeming with free writing contests. Search by category and notify them of the other contests you find on your own so that they may add them to the site.
Submit Those Entries
One of the quickest ways to gauge your writing skills without any sacrifice, aside from a bit of your time, is to enter a free contest. Enter some of the ones above or search for your own in a specific genre. Don't forget to add them to your resume if you place or receive an honorable mention. If you have an online portfolio and get published on the competition site, don't forget to link to your winning entry as well.