December 17, 2012

Pep Rally Monday: Contests and What We Learn From Them

Monday Pep Rally is a weekly feature where the Misfits post a question for you, the reader, to answer. You can answer on your own blog and link in the comments, or just answer here!

There have been a ton of great contests floating around the blogosphere lately - Pitch Wars, Miss Snark's First Victim Baker's Dozen, Pitchmas, and so on. I've entered a few myself, since I'm still a querying writer. And lately, I've noticed a lot of tweets and blog posts that talk about what you should learn from entering contests. 

Most of these focus on the positives, as well they should. There are lots of benefits to entering things like Pitch Wars or Baker's Dozen, the least of which is the sense of camaraderie and support you get from being in the same boat as hundreds of other writers. I've met some of my best friends and Critique Partners from entering contests. And I've learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses, and how to handle critique.

But there are also things that can be tough about entering. I know, I'm right there with you. Not "winning" a contest is hard. It makes you question yourself and your skill, no matter how hard you try not to. It can be tough to get feedback from people who don't know anything about your book but a log line or pitch. It can seem like everyone is SO close except you. And honestly, even with all the other bonuses, a lot of us enter contests to make our work better and get it in front of agents. When that doesn't happen, it can be disappointing.

So why do we still do it? 

Because for a lot of us, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. I've had to juggle a lot of things to get there, but I've decided that contests are still worth it, even with the heartache that sometimes accompanies them. Trust me, I've had my fair share of losing. But it's going to be a different decision for everyone. You need to evaluate your writing, and what you think you can get from entering. And of course look at the contest itself. Sometimes they'll be useful to where you're at on your path, sometimes they won't. Only you can make that call.

What do you guys think? If you're a writer, do you enter contests? Why not? And what have you learned from being in them? If you're a reader, do you follow contests online?


Feaky Snucker said...

I learned a lot from throwing Pitchmas with Jessa. It was crazy being on the other side of the velvet rope so to speak. I think contests are amazing, and there's more than one way to "win" at a contest. Maybe you don't get requests, but you get valuable feedback. Maybe not even that, but you meet some amazing people who become friends or even CP's. Jessa and I met during Janet Reid's pay it forward contest. Neither of us got in, but we found our first ever CP's in each other, which has been invaluable for our writing.

And we threw Pitchmas - which garnered SO MANY requests for people - and even scored me MY agent!

Sometimes it's not about the requests you get - it's about the people you meet. :)

Post a Comment

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Blogger Templates