I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: contests are invaluable to writers! First, it gives you deadlines to work by, and then it forces you to get your manuscript out there.
I entered “A Long Way From Home,” my NaNoWriMo manuscript, into the Novel Journey’s “Out of the Slush Pile” contest that they are running all through 2010. I went online the moment I woke up on the day they were to announce the winners on the blog and was saddened to see that I was not the winner for the historical category. So, I get ready for work and trek into the office. Then, I pull up my email and see a message from one of the coordinators of the contest.
“A Long Way From Home” was tied for second! The judges liked my writing and felt the story had a lot of potential for success. The e-mail really brightened my day, to say the least.
I am continuing to work on the novel with my fabulous critique group to get it as polished as possible for this summer’s writing conference. I’ve also got another few contest deadlines that I’m shooting for, like Genesis through ACFW. These contests provide priceless feedback. I encourage every writer out there to search around and find some reputable contests to get some exposure and critique.
Happy writing and contest-ing!