Football season is charging toward the Superbowl with fan fever at a break neck pace. I bleed gold and purple for the Vikings, so my team is out of the playoffs, but still I love to follow the game.
Whether you like football or not, NFL Bloopers show the side of the game that we all enjoy and every player avoids. No matter how hard professionals try, they still make mistakes. It’s part of the game.
Writers make mistakes. Plain and simple. We also look for feedback through contests, hoping to get that great invitation to send in our work.
Here are 5 Writing Contest Mistakes To Avoid:
1. Using Writing Contests As A litmus test. Writing contests are for feedback. If you go into a writing contest to see whether or not you should try to be a writer, you will be disappointed. The feedback you get is meant to improve your writing. It is not geared to bolster your courage to start a new career.
2. Expecting to be loved instead of critiqued. We all look for validation as writers. We hope to final, or win a contest we enter. There is nothing wrong with high hopes as long as you keep your feet on the ground.
3. Letting it consume you. I have to admit, I have been the one counting the hours until the finalists are announced. But while I watched the clock, valuable writing time slipped through my fingers. Try to avoid this trap as you get into the contest season.
4. Entering so many contests your work isn’t polished as well throughout. Why is it that some writers final in contest after contest, but never land an agent or a contract? Because their first three chapters are amazing and the rest of the manuscript lacks the same polish. If you enter a contest, take the time to polish the rest of the manuscript.
5. Taking every single judge’s comment and applying it. Contest judges are an amazing asset to a writer’s arsenal. It is important to keep in mind that the judges have your best interest at heart, but there are some elements of voice that you must protect. Instead of changing everything to a judge’s opinion, write down the common threads that the judges recommended and apply those components.
Writing contests are a great way for writers to improve their craft. Entering a contest in the right frame of mind will insure the best results for your writing career.
What mistakes have you seen writers make when entering a writing contest?