And The Winner Is...
You?
No? Never enter because you’ll never win - and anyway you’ve got so many other things you could and should be doing? Wrong! Writing competitions are a great way to put down that idea that’s been buzzing around your head, nattering away at you but never getting heard - before you forget it. Sure, the chances of you winning are not high, but winning doesn’t always mean coming first. If you’ve stalled recently with your writing then entering a competition is good practice for getting you back on track. Once you’ve started your short story - be it a flash fiction piece or a 1000 word story, before you know it inspiration will be your best friend. And it case you didn’t realise, it’s the D word we’re talking about here - Discipline. Ok, so you’ve written something but you’re not convinced it’s a brilliant piece - is it worth the entry fee? No? Then tweak, re-write, edit, tweak some more. And enter it anyway. Then put it in a folder entitled ‘short stories’ (yeah I know - genius), and maybe you can get it out again in six months time and enter it elsewhere. Or maybe you’ll get it out again in six months time and say ‘oh..ahh.. that’s why it didn’t stand a chance of winning..’ but you would have written down that nugget of an idea that can develop into something more or better or both. See - Discipline. Competitions give you a reason to write, even if it’s just a little bit.
Tips for writing a competition entry:

1.    Get out of your comfort zone. Like writing heart-warming stories about, say, Fluffykins the Bunny? Enter a horror story competition instead. Fluffykins: The Bunnny Who Turned

2.Love to write lengthy eloquent prose that languishes just this side of self indulgent poetic sensitivity? Try hard-hitting flash fiction of 50 words instead. No messin’.

3.    Don’t choose the expensive comps, after all, it’s bad enough not winning without wasting your money as well if what you think you’ve written isn’t a Winner in the first place. Why pay £10 to enter a competition when you can find onefor £3 or £5? It could be the best £3 you’ve spent in a long time.

4.Look at it as an investment (see above). Assume you won’t win this time, but hey - you’ve finally put the words on the screen and that niggling story has found a voice, ready for development.

5.Do you remember what it was like learning to ride a bike? Writing Comps = same thing. First draft’s always a bit wobbly. First edit and you start to concentrate. Second edit is usually about time for a tantrum. Third edit and you’re getting there. But you only ever have to learn to ride a bike once, don’t you?

6.Assume you will win and write your best. Better, in fact. What’s the point in entering if you think you won’t win!!

Hey! Glass half full, people!!

Here’s a little something I prepared earlier...(and in no particular order) http://www.barefictionmagazine.co.uk/competitions/
http://www.cinnamonpress.com/about/privacy-terms-conditions/mini-competitions/
http://www.exeterwriters.org.uk/p/competition.html
http://www.flash500.com/index_files/flashfiction.htm
http://www.inktears.com/Inktears/WritersNewWritersContest.html