October 29, 2012 by dmaysone
It’s nearing the end of Augusta, Georgia’s two-week-long Autumn, and that can only mean that the holiday season approaches. What better way for a writer to celebrate the festivities than with a few extra dollars in his pocket and a couple more lines on a vita. If you’re wondering how one can possibly earn money as an emerging author, then I have an unlikely solution for you: contests.
It may not be the most reliable way to earn an income, but, if you’re like me and totally in love with creative writing, then you will take any opportunity to earn some recognition in your field, and gaining money in the process is just a random gift from the writing gods. There are several valid reasons to enter into contests while you’re still honing your craft, and there are many different competitions that may interest you.
So why should I bother entering into a creative writing contest?
1. To learn a lesson in confidence: The only thing that separates writers who aren’t winning contests and writers who are is submission. Go ahead, submit that weird, hybrid poem. Even if you lose, you will feel better for just having the audacity to let your poem mingle with your professor’s for a while.
2. To earn recognition: This is perhaps the most important part of contest entry. Winning awards, earning publication credits and the like are important in establishing a resume/vita for jobs and graduate programs and can help in gaining a wider audience for your work.
3. To win money: Lastly, while creative writing contests stroke the ego with praise, nothing beats having a check to show for it. Many creative writing contests include prizes up to $1,000 and others can include publication, fellowships, readings, or tuition payment. But many contests aren’t free to enter, so be prepared to contribute $5-20 to the cause.
For those of you thinking about entering, keep in mind that Sand Hills literary magazine awards cash prizes for poetry and prose and is currently accepting submissions. Other local literary competitions are hosted by Poetry Matters and The Morris Museum of Art.