Contests are great for so many reasons! It forces you to put your work out there especially if you're a beginner and shy. Make a little money. Possibly win a publishing contract. Build confidence. Get feedback. Work to a deadline.
I'm thrilled today as my student entered her first writing contest and placed as a finalist. She entered the Hunger Mountain Prize for Young Writers sponsored by the Vermont College of Fine Arts. The contest was judged by New York Times best selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith. So another reason why I'm bursting with pride is knowing that my student's work stood up to not only the competition but was judged by one of the best Young Adult and Children's authors in the business.
We worked for eight weeks to polish her manuscript and meet the deadline. Actually the deadline was extended once which allowed her to revise further, always an added bonus. She wrote a new piece for this contest, a short story. Another reason why it's excellent to enter contests because many times it requires you to write something new and, in my student's case, she wrote in a different genre, too.
So today I want to raise a mug of hot cocoa, topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles, in her honor. I always knew she was a talented author. Now I think she knows it, too!
Keep writing everyone and don't forget to enter a few of your own contests.