Writing Competitions – For Better or for Worse?

I just counted up the entries I have made to various writing competitions over the past two years and here are the numbers:
• 287 dollars in entry fees
• 18 entries
• 9 separate manuscripts
• 5 in the pipeline awaiting a decision
• 2 wins.

Even if nothing comes of those five entries still in purgatory, I suppose an 11% success rate in this competitive field isn’t bad … is it?

A win in a writing competition is so amazingly wonderful that it’s hard to explain. The prize isn’t important; it’s about the sense of validation that you are capable of writing something half-decent. Someone important (usually you have no idea who it was) actually read your manuscript and liked it. The boost to self-confidence is like having a turbo-jet under your rudder. And it doesn’t look half bad on the writer’s CV either.

But the best part of entering writing competitions is the discipline. I have a good idea of what’s coming up throughout the year, so I can plan ahead. Several of the Australian competitions close late in the year – November or December – which gives a full year from today to write and edit and massage those manuscripts into shape. When there’s a looming deadline, it gives me the impetus to fire up the computer and get cracking.

I’m about to post my last three entries for the year (included above), then I’m going to take a well-earned break from writing until early 2013. If I’m lucky, I’ll score a mentorship from one of those entries.

If not, guess I’ll just keep on writing.

Wishing you a happy holiday season and success in 2013.


About Debbie Terranova

Debbie Terranova is an Australian author of contemporary and historical fiction. 'The Scarlet Key' published in 2016 is the second Seth VerBeek mystery. The crime-busting reporter is back with a new cast of unforgettable characters and a new puzzle to solve. It's about live, love, death, and tattoos, with a touch of the mystical. 'Baby Farm', her debut novel, is a cozy crime mystery about forced adoptions of the 1970s, and a surrogacy and baby trafficking racket. It is the first of the Seth VerBeek series. Debbie Terranova is a prizewinning author of short stories: 'Mowbray Brothers' about growing up in East Brisbane in the 1920s; and 'Mischief' about reinventing yourself and in the process falling in love ... with an adorable but mischievous cat.
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