Guest Blogger, Amy Browne, On Writing Contests

Today, Amy Browne, a member of my writing forum, and a full-time freelance writer who is breaking into the world of fiction writing, shares with us her experiences with writing contests, and why she thinks writing contests are important to a writer’s career.

Amy’s other writing can be found in several places, including Amy Browne on Associated Content, Amy Browne on Helium.com, and other online and print publications, including her recent article that was published in Girlfriend to Girlfriend Magazine.

So without any further rambling from me, here’s Amy Browne’s comments about writing contests and why they could be useful for your writing career:

Entering writing contests can help a freelance writer in so many ways, and you can gain so much valuable information, as well as feedback on your work.

There are writing contests for virtually every genre of story or a novel out here on the Internet. It really does not matter what genre you create a story or novel in you can find a contest if you search around enough. There is no need to look all over the internet one place has tons of writing contests. I will share the best place I have found to enter writing contests a bit later but I want to tell you what writing contests can do for you as a writer.

Some publishers will not accept anything from a non-published writer. They do not want to take the chance to put forth the effort on someone who may not have what it takes. That is good business sense but it does not help the writers among us trying to break into the business.

Entering a writing contest will help you to get that coveted first publishing status which will make it easier to secure a publisher once you reach the point of needed one. One of the easiest writing contests to enter is the short stories competitions. The winning short stories are published in an anthology, which means you are published with other aspiring authors.

I have entered a few writing contests for a selfish reason, the money. Of course, I also wanted to see if I could actually write a compelling enough fiction short story. I got a boost of confidence when I sent that entry in because I stepped out of my comfort zone. I got more than the initial boost of confidence of actually writing a fiction short story.

I got valuable feedback on my short story by other writers, they shared what they liked and what they did not like, and that helped me. That in itself was ego boosting enough to have the confidence to enter more writing contests.

I have learned that writing a short story for the writing contests take dedication and clear focus. If you do not have the dedication to sit and write a short story for a contest, you will never have the confidence to sit and a novel. That was a hidden benefit to entering the writing contests; I learned that I have the dedication to make that first novel happen.

I belong to the Accentuate Services Writer’s forum and this is the only place I will enter writing contests. Michelle Devon runs the board and searches out all these competitions for us, and she only posts the legit ones. There are plenty of writing contests listed within the forum both free and those which cost a bit to enter.

There is also a short story writing contest on this forum. I have entered this contest twice, and plan to enter and every competition there is on that board as long as I can. I enter a short story, obviously, because I want to win the money. Although I have not placed yet, I know that with practice, someday, I can win

Entering the that short story competition gets me focused, challenges my brain, and brings me some confidence within my writing abilities. Each time, I have posted my non-winning short story in the critique section. I got a feedback and a critique from the others on the board, their insight is wonderful, as it boosts my confidence as a writer.

I am growing as a freelance writer by entering these short story writing contests on the board. My last short story, although full of punctuation errors, showed a marked improvement over my first entry which was quite rambling. It is my last short story that I hope to find a market for once it had reached perfection and I will be using the Accentuate Services forum to locate a market the short story.

Even though my first short story bombed out it gave me confidence as a struggling freelance writer to step out of my comfort zone and reach for the brass ring as they say. I may have missed it twice, but I have gained much knowledge since that first one and I know someday I will win a writing contest.

As a freelancer who writes many articles a month to survive my real love is non-fiction. I know I lack the knowledge and confidence to write a novel, but with each short story writing contest I enter, I am gaining confidence, gathering knowledge, and some day I will be able to write that novel. It would be wonderful to use that time that I use writing those non-fiction articles and put some real effort into my novel. I will do this soon thanks to the boosts of confidence I have received from writing the short stories, and entering the writing contests thus far.

Thanks, Amy! Great commentary about contests!

Would you like to be a guest blogger on Fiction & Freelancing? If you’ve written an article or blog post about writing, freelance or fiction, that you think could help other writers, and would like a byline with a link back to your blog or writing, contact michelle@accentuateservices.com.

Love and stuff,
Michy
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