So, you’re interested in submitting to a writing competition? Fantastic! It may feel nerve-wracking at first, but the experience is worth it! There are many great reasons to enter writing competitions (more on that below - *hint* there's so much more to gain than the chance of winning!) First, here are a few handy tips to help you prepare your submission.
For Tip 1: Read the theme and guidelines
One of the best pieces of advice we can give you is to read the competition details - carefully! Every competition has a different way of doing things, so checking these small details can make all the difference. Look out for anything specific: is it purely non-fiction or straight-up fiction? Is it a minimum of 1000 words or 3000 words? Do all submissions have to be in size 12 Times and New Roman? These details might seem menial, but try putting yourself in the shoes of a competition judge with hundreds of entries to look at. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to read and enjoy your work!
.Tip 2: Write something you are passionate about
Write something you’re passionate about! This may seem like a no-brainer, but when you're trying to write to a particular theme or topic it can be easy to forget. Your challenge is to work with the theme, but in a way that still inspires you, fuelling your writer’s motivation and drive. This will not only help you to produce something you’re proud of, but when you like your own writing, chances are your readers will too!
Tip 3: Ask for feedback
The thought of your story being read by someone else can be nerve-wracking, can't it? But asking for feedback from someone you trust can provide a golden opportunity to get wonderful writing advice. It can help you step back from your story and submit a more polished piece of work. Asking for feedback from a teacher or writing mentor can not only help when submitting to competitions in the future. but will help you grow as a writer too!
Tip 4: Editing
The last trick to keep in your back pocket is something that we are told over and over again as writers: EDIT YOUR WORK! This will make it easier to read and help with the flow of the story - all good things when you want your reader to get lost in it! Take out that extra comma, add a full stop to create more suspense, sharpen that sentence, and check your grammar. This is the time to bring your eye for detail, because a well edited story shows you've taken the time to submit your best work.
Sharing your writing with others is a wonderful way to put yourself out there as a writer. Whether it be through reading your work aloud, posting on a blog, submitting to a publication or entering a competition, this can build your confidence and open doors that you may have never known about. It is also a great way to practice receiving constructive criticism. By listening to what others have to say, you'll get better at critiquing your own work. You'll even pick up valuable professional skills like following guidelines, meeting a deadline, and being aware of due dates. All of these experiences are valuable for writers looking to step into the world of writing and publication!
Ready to send your work out into the world? Hooray!
Here are a few suggestions for young writers:
The Boroondara Literary Awards - For writers of all ages who live, work or study in the City of Boroondara (that's where we are!). Closing date for this year is August 27!
Stone Soup - A magazine for young writers and artists aged 13 and under around the world.
Voiceworks - A literary journal for young Australian writers under age 25.
Furious Fiction - A monthly challenge for writers aged 17+, run by the Australian Writers' Centre.
Creative Write-it - We publish work by young writers in various formats throughout the year. Join our mailing list or sign up to our programs to stay in the know!
All that said ... happy writing and submitting, writers!
Where young writers (and some older ones) write.