I'm sure the word dredges up memories and some of them not very pleasant. As a frequent contest entrant and a frequent contest judge and contest coordinator, I find that the experience is often wrought with problems and broken dreams.
As an entrant I have won, placed, and lost contest. Of course this breaks my heart, I question my ability as a writer, I curse the judge for her lack of insight, and I dwell on the comments way too much. Is this abnormal? Of course not. Is this productive? Of course not.
I took a break from entering contests. I found that it helped tremendously with my confidence. Also, I found that I was able to focus on an entire manuscript instead of perfecting the first three chapters of a manuscript. And, I found that by submitting to contests as a way to stalk(yes,I mean that type of stalking) a particular editor or agent, it took longer to hear back from them. In fact, sending query and receiving a request cut the response time considerably.
Not that contest are bad, mind you. Many cater to specific genres and topics. This can be a godsend to those writers who target this type of market. And many people enjoy entering contests and do very well. They receive a check or other type of reward and their name is printed in the RWR, which is a great marketing tool.
I guess for me, that I will hold back and try to critique with my trusted critique partners and send queries and manuscripts to those who ask. In fact, after a few years of entering contests, I am now frequently sending my manuscript to editors at their request. So, I did learn from contests, I did grow as a writer, and the comments (both negative and postitiv) have added to my toolbox.
That's it according to Maddy ~
Tootles for now,