Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Writing tip: The Advantage of Open Platform Contests

Contests range in size and prizes offered. These prizes can be anything from cash, gift vouchers, publication or even just a custom coffee mug (sometimes it is a combination of everything). However the true value of a writing contest does not lie in the prize or publication offered. No, it lies in the fact that taking part in writing contests hone your skills.

Competition brings out our best effort. In open platforms where readers can vote and comment on a particular entry one can quickly learn the shortcomings present in your writing. One gentleman took the time to constructively point out that my lead character was too perfect. This is something that I probably would not have noticed, but by entering an open platform contest I now know what I should be careful of in future pieces.

Even though your friends and family who regularly read your work may be honest in their opinion they are biased as well. They know you and at some level would not want to discourage you or hurt your feelings. So it is difficult to find out what the true strengths and weaknesses are in your writing.

Strangers on open platform contests do not know you and therefore will write dead honest reviews over your work (that being said, a little patience is required because not everyone who reads your entry feel the need to write a review). You can gauge the success of your piece by the number of votes, reviews or views it garnered. Competition on these platforms are stiff and reading entries from other people will help you refine your writing skills and will help you to word your thoughts better.

Even though the prizes in open platform contests can be a bit tawdry, the feeling of accomplishment and pride one gets from seeing what other readers have to say about your work is a reward in itself. Plus these contests are fun to enter!

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