Writing contests are a good way to hone your craft.
I've entered a few poetry and fictioncontests, back when I had a second job that gave my bank account some breathing room. I only entered the less expensive ones, with $5 to $10 entry fees, and I especially liked the ones that included feedback. Did I ever win? No. One of my fiction pieces made it to the second round of finalists, though. I was pretty happy I had made it that far.
There are tons of contests out there. Most charge a modest entry/reading fee, but there are still some free ones around. The free contests usually offer a critique or publishing, in lieu of a monetary prize. But hey! That's still a great prize!
I've gathered a few contests for you all to try your luck. Click on the links for guidelines.
Toasted Cheese 11th Annual Dead of Winter Contest
Theme-Skull and Bones
Word Limit-2000-3000 words
First Prize-$35.00 Amazon gift card
Deadline-December 21, 2011
Winning Writers Wergle Flomp Humor Contest
First Prize-$1500.00 plus publication on WinningWriters.com
Deadline-April 1, 2012
There Is Hope Magazine Writing Contest
Articles on how everyday people overcome obstacles, achieving personal victories in their lives.
Word limit-200-750 words
First prize-$500.00, a photo shoot, and 5 free copies of the magazine.
Deadline-March 1, 2012
Transitions Abroad Narrative Travel Writing Contest
Articles about travel
First Prize-$500.00 plus the article will appear on their website and Web Magazine.
Pockets Annual Fiction Contest
No set theme
Word limit-750-1000 words
First Prize-$500.00 plus publication in the magazine.
Starts- March 1
These contests are free to enter, so why not enter one or even all of them? Hey, you never know...but just remember:
"The real contest is always between what you've done and what you're capable of doing. You measure yourself against yourself and nobody else."--Geoffrey GaberinoGood Luck!