Literature Contests

Many beginning writers are looking for a way to hone their craft and sharpen their writing skills, and there is no better place to start than with a literature contest. These contests can be on almost anything, from very short passages of less than 1,000 words, to entries where the minimum length is closer to 40,000 words or even more. Some of the contests offer cash prizes, and the most illustrious ones will include publishing contracts, though you’d need to be exceptional to enter into one of those.

If you’re just starting out, a short literature contest would be ideal. The fact is, the shorter the required piece is, the harder it will be to write, since you will need to say more with fewer words. However, what’s nice about these literature contests is that you won’t need to write as intricate a story, and therefore, it requires far less of a time investment. Some literature contests put a very small limit on the number of words you can include, as little as 100 words for prose, which really helps you improve your writing skill to include any details whatsoever.

Where to find Literature Contests

Depending on what area of the country you live in, you might find that there a large number of local literature contests going on all the time. Check colleges, universities, and local cafes which host poetry readings. Often, the local library is a great place to stop and ask for information on upcoming contests. Typically, most libraries will have at least one contest annually, although prizes are limited if any are given at all.

You can also look online. There are a variety of websites listing literature contests including this one, this one, and this one.

How to Submit to Literature Contests

A literature contest can be submitted to in a variety of ways. Most of the local contests require a paper submission, while most online contests request emails or plain-text submission. Also, with many local competitions, you will be required to write a short three or four sentence biography about yourself.

Winning a Literature Contest

The benefits of entering these contests are plentiful. For starters, having a deadline for submission will really get your mental gears turning, and help you finish all of those old writing projects that you currently keep stashed in your “to do” pile.

In addition to that, though, remember that you also will get some feedback on your work through where you are placed in the competition, and occasionally you may even get a letter or two from one of the judges who particularly enjoyed your work. All of this will really help to take your writing to the next level.