Friday, April 8, 2011

Give Yourself Some Time For Contest Entries

Have you ever entered a writing contest? I send off several pieces to my state authors annual contest on a regular basis. Besides following guidelines carefully, there's something else to be considered--getting your contest entry done well ahead of the deadline date.

One thing I've learned along this road is that you should not rush your contest entry. We all know what the deadline date is for entering any type of contest. We know we should get cracking and work on the stories, poems or articles you want to send in. But Life tends to get in our way, and we put the contest entry on the back burner to keep warm.

Suddenly, the date is only a couple days away, and there sit your entries, still in first draft condition. So, you hurry through the revisions, get them ready with the cover letter, rush to the post office to have the postage calculated and send them on the way. Whew! You did it.

But you've done yourself a disservice if you enter the contest in that particular way. Your work will not be your best writing. Hurrying a project seldom brings outstanding results. Note that I said seldom, because sometimes the perfect piece comes quickly and easily.

Make getting those writing projects done in a timely manner. Allow yourself plenty of time to write a first draft and then make revisions. Sometimes those revisions require more than one sitting. Don't send your work in if you're not satisfied with it. If you aren't the judges probably won't be either. .

A hurry-up job ends up looking like a writing roadrunner barreled through.


  1. Exactly! (Did you just read my blog entry about letting contest deadlines roll by?) ;-)

  2. No, I hadn't read your blog re contest entry deadlines. This came strictly from my thinking that I'd better get my rear in gear and get something ready for KS Authors Contest. I guess great minds DO run on the same track!

  3. For no reason, your post reminded me of the year that I was a category chair for OWFI. Entries had to be postmarked by a certain date. My function was to collect all the entries and then send them to the category judge. I waited for twelve days after the postmark deadline, bundled them up -- was quite a load -- took my box to the post office and sent them off. The next day, one more entry arrived in my mailbox, thirteen days after the contect closed. I carefully checked the postmark, which clearly was within the specified time. Further, the entry was from a name that I recognized as an officer of OWFI. And it had been mailed in Tulsa, not in some podunk little corner of Oklahoma. So I hastened to have the overall contest chair send a quick message to the judge, hey, don't make a final decision yet, there's one more entry to come. I'll always wonder why tnat envelope sat around in the Tulsa post office for almost two weeks. And, I always try to send my contest entries at least one week before deadline.

  4. Good story, Peg. Shows how important it is to get things in before the deadline. Not all would have sent that late one on as you did. Wonder if it ended up a winner!