Why You Should Not Enter Writing Competitions


Tomorrow I find out if my story won.

Even though this isn’t my first time on the site, my heart jumps when I think about the winner announcement.

It’s nerve racking.

Every moment spent writing is precious, more so when you have children. Mothers must take extra care on how we choose to use our time. We don’t want to lose any moment with our kids.

Are writing competitions worth the missed moments and anxiety?


You Must Write Something

Writing takes time, especially writing something new.

Time that could be used playing with your sweet little humans, washing the dishes, or folding the clean clothes. Again.

As I sit and type this out my daughter is napping. My son’s eating Kneophla soup and chatting, mouth full. Every time I stop clicking the keys to listen to him, his big brown eyes and never-ending story melt me.

Are these words I’m writing more important than his?


But I love to write. I must do it. Every time I let resistance win I feel anxious.

Every mother needs her time, too. Writing is mine.

And a writing competitions encourage you to write, and write well.


People Will See Your Writing

There was a time in my writing life when I didn’t want anyone to see the words I wrote. I was sure they were terrible.

I still feel that way. I can’t help but think someone reading this is judging each word I choose.

I’m probably right.

You are dissecting this article. And that’s ok. That’s what happens with writing.

I can only do the best I can.

But the way to improve is to do something you’re afraid of.

That’s why I do a weekly Facebook Live in my group.

It’s the reason I am participating in a podcast next week.

And it’s why I enter competitions.


You Might Lose

What if you spend all that time and energy crafting a story you are sure is perfect for the competition, and lose.

Does that mean it was all a waste?


Each word you write helps you perfect your craft. The more you write, the closer you come to honing your voice.

Failure isn’t fun, but it brings you closer to your goal. There will be a time when you reach success and each failure will have been worth it. (You can read more about rejection here.)

Plus some competitions, like the one I’m doing, offer feedback for the participants. You can find out what went wrong and right.

You can improve.


You might Win

Resistance means you are close to reaching your goal. The closer you are, the harder it is.

That’s what makes it so hard to hit that submit button.

What if you win?

What if people expect you to be able to succeed again?

It can be frightening.

But it is worth it. The feeling you get when you see your name and story title in the winner announcement makes your heart bright.

At least until the next one.

Writing competitions are addicting, exciting and rewarding -win or lose.

They are worth it, even with all the reasons why you shouldn’t enter.


So take a chance. Fight your resistance and fear. Get some exposure.


And have fun while you do!


What do you think? Are you going to enter a writing competition? If you have entered before, was it worth it? Let us know in the comments!


Looking for places to enter? Check out these sites.

A Huge List of Competitions

Weekly Competitions

A Fun Online Magazine

My Shortlisted Story

Check back tomorrow to see if my story won.

UPDATE: Didn’t win this time. Learned a bunch, though.

On to the next!


6 thoughts on “Why You Should Not Enter Writing Competitions

  1. Hi – I just dabbled for years. Bringing up children and working pretty much got in the way of doing any serious writing. In 2015, there was a local competition. I wasn’t going to enter because I couldn’t see that I’d get anywhere, but a writing friend encouraged me to do it anyway. I imagined the judges laughing, but did it anyway. To my surprise I got short-listed. Although the judges had made their decision, to make an evening of it, they had all the short-listed writers read their stories and then announced the results. I hadn’t read anything out which I’d written since school. But I survived. I didn’t win anything, but I entered the same competition in 2016 and won! In between, I’d joined a couple of Facebook writing groups and taken up several challenges. Out of these I had enough material to self-publish two books of short stories. I’ve entered other competitions and not got anywhere, but as you say, it’s an impetus and helps hone your writing. I keep saying: “no more” and then “just one more”…

  2. This was a great read. I really love “But the way to improve is to do something you’re afraid of…”. That is something I am learning everyday. To step out of my comfort zone and be okay with the world. I also like that you updated the post with the results of the contest.

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