A few years ago, for instance, I entered what I thought was a wonderful paranormal romance into a romance contest. Some writers look down on romance writers as not serious enough, not dedicated to their craft, etc., but that has never been my attitude, or my experience. The judges in this particular contest made no bones about picking apart my entry. They slashed the hero, and pretty much everything about the story.
Now, I am a serious writer, and I am always appreciative when another writer takes the time to critique my work. It hurt, of course, because I'd considered this a good story. But I went back to the drawing board and revised it, and revised it a few more times, and after I finally published it, reviewers gave it top ratings. In retrospect, I'm glad I invested in the entry fee.
This year, I entered several of my stories into another annual contest. Every year but this year, my stories have finaled in it. This year? Zip. Nada. Nothing. I scanned through the list, and, not finding my titles, checked it again more slowly.
I have to admit, it rattled me. What does it mean? Has my writing declined?
This, by the way, is not a contest that provides feedback from judges. The entry fee is a little steeper than I normally would spend, but again, the finalists and winners get great exposure.
But now, I'm second-guessing myself in every aspect.
Do you enter writing contests? Do you agree they have a value?
Thanks again to Alex J. Cavanaugh for sponsoring this group! Now go lend a supportive shoulder to another author.