How to Win Creative Writing Competitions

Even the most accomplished writer is unable to win every competition they enter but a little forward planning and inspired creativity can boost the chances of winning creative writing competitions more regularly. I became addicted to writing competitions many years ago and had a few modest successes in the early days and then through increased focus and commitment, started winning more. Am I a better writer than everyone else? No, but I am very determined to succeed and writing is my life so I also put 100% into every creative project. If you want to win  creative writing competitions, then don’t play at it half-heartedly, as the editor of the Creative Competitor I see thousands of submissions each year and whilst sometimes the standard is excellent, other submissions can be unappealing and even badly written.

Self motivation and commitment are key factors for every successful writer, there is no doubt in my mind that you can learn the relevant techniques and skill-set to become successful. What you lack for in qualifications, you can more than make up for with imagination and determination through trial and error. You also need to utilise every ounce of imagination at your disposal and this can mean growing that creative muscle until it expands and works at will. Once you get into the habit of entering writing competitions regularly, your imagination will kick-start quickly. I would always suggest sourcing your own list of writing competitions and checking out the rules carefully before entering. You also need to think your idea through thoroughly before submitting to  make sure your idea is powerful and that it will stand out from other entries.

Its hard trying to acquire the mindset of a competition judge but to a certain degree, you do need to be fairly analytical as regards your submission.

I have put together the following tips to help you increase your chances of winning the creative writing competitions of your choice:

  1. Have you checked all of the rules including word count and closing date?
  2. Does the competition theme inspire you?
  3. Have you planned your story sufficiently before writing?
  4. Is your idea fresh and most of all, compelling?
  5. Are your characters(if any) larger than life?
  6. Are you sure that your storyline hasn’t meandered unnecessarily?
  7. Does the storyline flow?
  8. Will the reader be able to relate to the storyline? (Depending on competition theme)
  9. Have you checked out previous competition winners to get a feel for why they may have won?
  10. Have you spell-checked?

There is always a certain amount of luck involved with winning creative writing competitions but if you put your heart and soul into your entry, then you increase your chances of securing a fantastic prize and obtaining publication.

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