My primary aim when I started writing was to pen novels. One day, I veered from that path into the world of the short story. The result? An immediate burst of accomplishment and, surprisingly, a joy in the genre itself. I still participate in the marathon of the novel, but am always up for a short story sprint.
In order to get my work out there, I entered story contests. Rejection? Yes, lots of it. But considerable success, too. Knowledge crept in: the contests, especially the twenty-four hour dashes, were helping to hone my craft. I kept entering…
Reasons for Entering Short Story Contests
- Fun. You have opportunity to play with styles and voice.
- Readers. Your work is seen by objective readers.
- Inspiration. Topic is often given. You get to brainstorm around it.
- Blind judging. You can dip your toe into the water anonymously: no query letter; no dreaded synopsis. You are selling your work, not selling yourself.
- Motivation. You have a deadline, so you have to put BIC (butt in chair) and just write.
- Feedback. Sometimes you get feedback. Disagree? Reject. Agree? Apply.
- Word Count Limits. You have no choice but to tighten writing by dropping modifiers and using stronger verbs.
- Credibility. Published? Short-listed? Either gives you credibility… something to put under “Recent Awards and Publications” when submitting queries.
- Immunity to Rejection. Rejection gradually loses its sting. You simply edit your stories and submit them elsewhere.
- Collection. Stories accumulate. Before long, you have a collection.
Along with the above benefits comes the awareness that a lot of small publications are staffed by volunteers, many of whom are writers. They give their time to support you. You give a small fee to support them. The result? A writing community. A complete circle. Bonus!
My Best to You,