There’s always one essay contest or another that’s open for submissions, but knowing about them and actually sending in an entry are two very different things. Whether due to a cramped schedule or just forgetting to pick up a pen and start an outline, most people let a lot of great opportunities pass them by for one reason or another.
Below, you’ll find a reminder of how essay competitions can benefit you. Refer to this page whenever you feel in need of some extra motivation to pick yourself up and get to work on that great opportunity:
- PRIZES – This is the most obvious reason why you should enter a writing competition: To win the prizes advertised. The prizes can range from monetary ones to devices such as laptops or tablets, sponsorship to events and even publication in print or online media.
Winning prizes is great because apart from the validation of the quality of your writing, you’ll have gotten something tangible as well. Sponsorship to events within or outside your country can do wonders for you, career wise.
In the case of cash prizes, whether you’ll be spending the money on a shopping binge or putting it into your education, you’ll know it was money you earned by using your brain; and your fingers, of course. That feeling is a great one and a powerful motivating factor all by itself.
- PORTFOLIO BUILDING – If you’re exploring a career as a writer, then there’s nothing you need more than an impressive portfolio. Many essay contests publish the winning entries on their websites, and that’s something you can use to your advantage.
Being published in certain magazines or websites is something that can instantly boost your positioning as a writer and help you have an easier time getting published in other places or even getting paid to write.
Potential clients will want to know that they’re hiring someone who has experience writing pieces of the kind they need. By being able to point them at your winning entries, you can simultaneously show them your experience as well as your quality relative to other writers in your niche.
- PRACTICE– Practice makes perfect, right? Wrong. You won’t become a perfect writer, but you’ll become much better with every entry that you send in. The hard work you put into writing and editing your write-ups will have the effect of honing your writing abilities, making you that much better at banging out a top-notch essay.
Also, the fact that writing contests often require you to write on a broad variety of topics means that you’ll broaden your knowledge base and get better at conducting in-depth research as well. This will help you a lot when you begin to write for clients from different industries because you’ll be able to work efficiently and maximize the use of your time.
- RE-PURPOSING – When you enter an essay contest, you’ll likely be submitting a piece of work that you spent quite some time fine-tuning till you were confident it stood a chance of earning you the top prize in the competition.
Whether you win or not, you are going to have a top-notch piece that you can make use of for other purposes. For instance, I had my winning entry in the 2015 ICAN essay competition published in an academic magazine. Even with non-academic writing, you can publish your works online or offline, as soon as you find an appropriate publication.
WHERE TO FIND ESSAY COMPETITIONS YOU CAN ENTER
- AfricanWritersHub – You’ll find regular posts detailing writing competitions, along with tips on how to get your writing skill to black-belt level. Very importantly too, there’ll be tutorials on how to make a living as a writer via freelancing. Just check in regularly and you’ll be sure to find something new.Remember to like the Facebook page and follow the Twitter handle for automatic updates straight to your phone.
- Opportunitesforafricans.com and Opportunitydesk.org – These sites cover more than just essay contests, so be sure to take your time to search thoroughly. Or you could just check AWH.
- Google – The good old Google search is as reliable as ever, but you can also use Google alerts to automate the process.
Lawyer, writer and entrepreneur.