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Cultivating Your Craft in the Digital Age: Writing Contests

Published on Monday, July 5, 2010 by

I have purchased the Writer’s Digest for many years. I am not sure why purchasing the Writer’s Digest does not automatically guarantee that one will get published and that has been my experience..you must follow through with submitting, submitting, and submitting..a step I have quite gotten to yet.

That being said this annually presented “writer’s bible” is broken down into 15 sections which include:

  • The Basics
  • Personal Views
  • Beyond the Basics
  • Literary Agents
  • Book Publisher
  • Canadian book publisher
  • Small Presses
  • Consumer Magazines
  • Trade Journals
  • Newspapers
  • Screenwriting
  • Greeting Cards
  • Contests and Awards and more!

Looking at these categories my eye kept getting drawn to contests and awards.  This made me wonder if there are contests and awards that have actually launched a successful writing career.   Contests may be focused on issues such as racism, different cultures, genres, or individual authors. Some of these authors include Ayn Rand, Ralph Waldo Emerson, other such as Pulitzer are focused on a noted person in publishing.   In the category of non fiction the scope includes prizes again focused on Ayn Rand, Canadian Library award, and the Federick Douglas Book Prize.

The Modern Language Association (MLA) offers several contest opportunities for academics and scholars in that field.  The prizes include enumeration and descriptive bibliographies published in the previous two years as well as an MLA prize of publication for a first book..by a current member of the association.

Many of these contests have websites that it maybe wise to bookmark.  Some examples of these are:

American Short Fiction American short fiction short story contest

Sherwood Anderson Short Fiction : The foundation has been giving grants and scholarships to developing writers since 1988. Deadline for grant applications is April 1 of each year. If you would like to be considered for a grant, see How to Compete.

Annual Gival Press Novel Award:

Glimmer Train offers a variety of writing contests opportunities as well as awards.

Ernest Hemingway Foundation is one of my favorite awards because it offers a retreat close to home at the Ucross Foundation.  This prize goes to an unpublished American author as well as $8000 to the finalist.

One of the most interesting and something I SHOULD participate in is the International 3-Day novel contest. “Offered annually for the best novel written in three days, over Labor Day Weekend.”  First prize is publication.  The Website is the 3 Day Novel Competition.

Some writing contests are associated with universities and writing programs, some of these are Lawrence Foundation Award which is associated with the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

I am sure most of you have heard of the Bulwer Lytton Writing contest. If you can write “It was a dark and stormy night…” this is the contest for you.

Another resource you need to be aware of the is the Associated Writers Program which notes several writing contests.

There are also several writing contests listed on this website. I could continue listing writing contests, they are inspirational and motivational..too much to list here.   I will continue to discuss them though and would like to hear your experiences with writing contests.

One Response
    • Thanks for pointing out some good information on contests. Some of us try to list contests on the forum which should be done more regularly. I have not entered any contests yet but I see it as a way to get some recognition and start to build your presence as an author. I think it would be a good thing to start out with while waiting for publication and I plan to begin looking more at contests in the next year.

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