You’ve likely seen them if you have spent time around online writing communities, but you may be curious about how to win a writing competition. There are countless contests online, and you can find contests for whichever genre or style you write in. Though competitions aren’t only about winning, some certain techniques and practices will help you improve your writing and consequently increase your chance of winning. Writing competitions can be a good way to improve your writing skills, give yourself a deadline, and win some exciting prizes!

Understand Why You Are Entering

To understand why you are entering a competition, think through your motivations. If you don’t know your reason, you can’t plan, and you’ll have a more difficult time gleaning real benefits from entering in the first place. For example, writing contests give you a lot of opportunities, but they take effort and you have to write under a deadline. Because of this, many writers will enter countless writing contests each year and try to use contests to get outside of their comfort zone or try out new things. It keeps writers accountable, writing, and provides a chance at winning something!

Larger competitions have countless writers entering, and they’re intensely competitive. If you are only entering because you want to win, you may quickly be disappointed. Many writers submit work to competitions every year without winning. Still, they are worth entering, whether you’re a brand new writer or a seasoned professional. Still, you may be much more excited about entering competitions if you think through a few reasons that motivate you to enter.

Search for Contests and Plan the Ones You Will Enter

Selecting the competitions you intend to enter will allow you to stay on schedule and submit your best work. You shouldn’t submit work at the last minute to competitions. Submitting polished work that has been edited thoroughly will give you the best chance of winning. When readers are reviewing submissions, the more polished pieces will immediately stand out, which can often get your sample moved past the first weed-out phase.

Once you’ve planned out the contests you will enter, it’s time to add all of the submission deadlines to a dedicated calendar. Staying organized will help you keep track of which contests are coming up and help you plan out the time you need to write each submission.

Pay Attention to the Rules

Each contest will have specific rules and requirements for submitting pieces. After you have planned out each contest you will submit to; it’s essential to copy the exact directions you’ll need to follow. Standard rules for contests include the precise time of the deadline, the length of submissions, or your writing subject matter. This will help you when you begin to transition into the writing process for each contest. Nothing is more disheartening than writing a piece you’re excited about and realizing it doesn’t qualify for the contest’s rules!

Set Goals

Every writer should be setting goals, especially those practicing how to win a writing competition. For most of us, writing is done outside of our regular job, or we’re freelance writing. In both cases, you will benefit from some external motivation to keep you writing consistently, even when things are tough, or you are having trouble focusing. This is even more important when it comes to writing for contests. When you submit writing pieces to many contests each year, having goals will ensure you stay ahead of your deadlines and aren’t cramming to get a piece in on time.

There are plenty of guides to setting goals for the particular kind of writing you’re doing, but they all boil down to a few fundamental principles that make goal setting powerful. Breaking down a writing project into smaller incremental goals with deadlines will help you finish a project on time, and you can better hold yourself accountable to your plan. In addition, building more time to edit your work into your writing goals will strengthen your submissions.

If you can figure out a schedule for you, one of the most important goals you can submit yourself to is to write every day. Nothing will improve your writing more than this habit. When you make your writing something that takes place every day, whether you feel like it or not, you’ll make so much more progress over time than if you wait until you’re inspired.

Have Fun With It!

Writing competitions are fun, and enjoying the process of writing will help you improve so much quicker. Entering Competitions encourages you to write more, and you’ll quickly find yourself inspired by new projects, excited for the next contest, and eager to work on new things. Along the way, you will improve the quality of your writing, develop writing samples, write more often, and make a habit of staying on top of your work. In addition, writing competitions allow you to be creative and write pieces you wouldn’t necessarily come up with on your own. In other cases, you may have such an open-ended contest that you can create something completely different and unique.

Learn How to Win a Writing Competition with ScriptMother

If you’re interested in screenwriting competitions, check out the Script of the Month competition on ScriptMother. Every month, screenwriters from our online editing community have the chance to be nominated for our monthly competition. Writers are eligible for nominations once they receive at least two reviews on their script. Each month, winners will have their script featured on the front page of ScriptMother and receive free coverage from ScriptMother professional coverage experts. Our experts read scripts professionally for production companies, giving you the chance to increase the exposure of your work!

Our writing community thrives based on our unique format. Once you upload your script, you’ll begin reviewing other scripts, unlocking reviews for yourself. We’ve found that this method benefits the entire community since everyone receives more feedback and gains so much knowledge just by reading scripts.

Create a free account with ScriptMother to begin improving your writing and enter free writing competitions!