Writing contests can be an amazing tool to use in bridging the gap between writing and getting published. They can, as a matter of fact, be an amazing way of meeting that editor, or agent, who can take an unpublished writer into the realm of those published.
The Write from the Heart– Harlequin Heartwarming Contest is an excellent example of such a contest. This clever contest invited writers to submit the first page of their manuscript to Stage 1 of the contest, with clear, concise guidelines available online to all ‘contestants’. Participants selected to move on to Stage 2 of the contest then had a set amount of time to submit an expanded synopsis and the first three chapters of their manuscript to the editors. Authors selected to move on to Stage 3 of the contest then had the opportunity to submit their full manuscript to Harlequin Heartwarming. Each author submitting their full manuscript is then to receive a personal mentorship with a Heartwarming editor. This mentorship could last up to six consecutive months and could end with an offer of publication.
What an amazing opportunity for any writer with a manuscript that fit the guidelines of this contest! It takes guts to reveal what we’ve written, to anyone. It takes courage to enter a contest, since the whole point of entering means being judged. Not all contests are equal. The possibility of receiving feedback we don’t quite agree with, or that hurts, is certainly there. Reputable contests do come with a silver lining for all participants, if the feedback provided is constructive as opposed to harsh and merely critical.
Live and learn; keep writing; and let constructive criticism inspire you to realize you can do better if you persevere.