This week, my weary query sits naked before numerous foreign eyes. I stalk Twitter threads for any morsel of reference to mine, mine, mine. Entering live writing contests (such as those hosted and tweeted by Twitter folks) can be nerve-wracking. You feel like a lost dog waiting to be found. You crave that delicious homecoming when someone says, "Yes, you, you're the one I want!"
So why enter these tension-filled writing contests when you know they drive you c-r-a-z-y?
I'll tell you why: because writing contests can make you a better writer. They do - if you remember why you entered.
You entered to become better. Not to win. To improve. That's why I entered the May Secret Agent, The Writer's Voice, and Query Kombat. And why I will enter the upcoming Pitmad.
My top ten reasons to enter writing contests (an ode to David Letterman).
10. Discover new writers.
9. Discover new writers of your genre.
8. Find new ways to stress (hey, how'd that get in here?)
7. Be reminded that fresh unknown talent exists.
6. See what others are writing about.
5. Confirm that others struggle with similar writing issues.
4. Confirm that you've got talent.
3. Learn from your peers.
2. Find writing partners.
1. Become a better writer. (ding, ding, ding, winner!)
If you have the time, and you have a completed manuscript, consider these contests. If you're not quite ready, don't worry, they're here all night (year; all the time!). You can always troll the Twitter threads and eaves drop on some good advice.