Winning Writing Competitions in 2023: Tips and Strategies


Are you an aspiring writer looking to make your mark in the world of writing competitions? Look no further! In this article, we will guide you through the tips and strategies to help you come out on top in the fiercely competitive landscape of writing competitions in 2023. So let’s dive right in and explore the key elements that can set you apart from the competition.

Understanding the Landscape of Writing Competitions in 2023

In today’s digital age, writing competitions have taken on a whole new dimension. The emergence of digital platforms has opened up a plethora of opportunities for writers to showcase their talent. With the rise of online literary magazines, blogs, and social media, the scope for participating in writing competitions has expanded exponentially.

But what exactly does this mean for writers in 2023? Let’s delve deeper into the world of writing competitions and explore the trends and themes that are shaping the landscape.

The Rise of Digital Writing Competitions

Gone are the days when writing competitions were limited to print publications. The growth of the internet has made it easier than ever to discover and enter competitions online. Writers now have the convenience of submitting their work with just a few clicks, eliminating the need for printing and mailing manuscripts.

Furthermore, digital platforms have also democratized the world of writing competitions. In the past, only a select few had access to prestigious literary magazines and publishing houses. Now, with online platforms, writers from all walks of life can participate and gain recognition for their work.

From flash fiction contests to poetry slams, the digital realm offers a diverse range of competitions to suit every writer’s preferences. Whether you prefer the traditional route or want to explore the digital domain, there are plenty of options available to showcase your unique style and genre.

Genres and Themes Trending in 2023

As the literary landscape evolves, so do the preferences of competition organizers. In 2023, it’s important to keep an eye out for competitions that focus on contemporary genres and themes. While traditional genres like romance and mystery still have their place, there is a growing demand for works that tackle pressing societal issues.

From dystopian worlds to climate change, competition organizers are increasingly looking for works that address the challenges and complexities of the modern world. By aligning your work with these current themes, you not only have the opportunity to make a powerful statement but also capture the attention of judges and stand out from the crowd.

Moreover, writing competitions centered around specific themes provide a platform for writers to explore different perspectives and engage with important topics. It’s a chance to delve into the depths of human experiences and shed light on issues that often go unnoticed in mainstream literature.

The Impact of Global Events on Writing Competitions

Global events shape the world we live in, and they also influence the world of writing competitions. In recent years, we have witnessed the profound impact of events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, political unrest, and social movements on the literary landscape.

These events often serve as catalysts for a wave of literary creation, as writers seek to make sense of the world around them and express their thoughts and emotions through their work. In response to this, many writing competitions now specifically ask for entries that explore the impact of such global events.

By addressing these topics in a thoughtful and creative manner, writers have the opportunity to connect with judges and fellow writers on a deeper level. It’s a chance to contribute to the ongoing dialogue surrounding these events and offer unique perspectives that can inspire and provoke thought.

As we navigate the ever-changing landscape of writing competitions in 2023, it’s important to embrace the opportunities presented by digital platforms, explore trending genres and themes, and engage with the impact of global events. The world of writing competitions is evolving, and it’s up to writers like you to shape its future.

Preparing Your Entry for Writing Competitions

Now that you have a grasp of the competition landscape, it’s time to prepare your entry. To give yourself the best chance of success, consider the following factors:

Researching the Competition

Before diving into the writing process, take the time to research the competition you’re interested in. Understand the organization behind it, their mission, and the type of work they typically gravitate towards. This will help you tailor your writing to match their expectations and increase your chances of being shortlisted.

When researching the competition, explore their previous winners and published works. Analyze the themes, styles, and techniques that have been successful in the past. This will provide you with valuable insights into what the judges appreciate and what sets apart a winning entry.

Understanding the Judging Criteria

Each competition has its own set of judging criteria. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with these guidelines to ensure your piece meets all the necessary requirements. Pay attention to factors such as originality, technical skill, and adherence to the given theme or prompt.

Take the time to carefully read and understand the judging criteria. Consider how you can incorporate these elements into your writing while maintaining your unique voice and style. By understanding what the judges are looking for, you can fine-tune your work and enhance its chances of being noticed.

Crafting a Unique and Engaging Story

Storytelling lies at the heart of any successful entry. To capture the attention of judges, focus on creating a unique and engaging narrative. Take risks, experiment with different genres or perspectives, and show your individuality as a writer.

Consider incorporating elements of surprise, suspense, or emotional depth into your story. Think about how you can create memorable characters and compelling plotlines that will leave a lasting impression on the judges. Sifting through numerous entries, judges are often drawn towards stories that stand out and make them feel something.

Furthermore, don’t be afraid to think outside the box and challenge conventional storytelling norms. Experiment with different narrative structures, unconventional perspectives, or even blending genres to create a truly original piece.

Writing Techniques to Stand Out in 2023

Now that you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to explore some writing techniques that can make your entry shine amidst the sea of submissions.

Incorporating Contemporary Themes

Writing that reflects the world we live in can have a powerful impact on both judges and readers. Explore contemporary themes relevant to society and interweave them into your narrative. By incorporating current issues and giving them your unique perspective, you can create a piece that resonates with the judges and captures the essence of our times.

For example, you could delve into topics such as climate change, social justice movements, or the impact of technology on human relationships. By showcasing your understanding of these complex issues and exploring them within the context of your story, you can engage readers on a deeper level.

Experimenting with Different Writing Styles

Different writing competitions call for different styles of writing. Use this as an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and experiment with varying styles, such as stream-of-consciousness, magical realism, or epistolary form. The willingness to take risks and explore unfamiliar territory can make your entry truly stand out from the crowd.

For instance, you could try your hand at stream-of-consciousness writing to provide readers with a raw and unfiltered glimpse into your character’s thoughts and emotions. Or, you could employ magical realism to blur the lines between reality and fantasy, creating a captivating and enchanting narrative. By embracing different writing styles, you can showcase your versatility as a writer and leave a lasting impression on the judges.

The Power of Character Development

Compelling characters are the lifeblood of any great story. Ensure that your characters are well-developed, relatable, and evoke emotions. Give them depth, flaws, and aspirations that readers can connect with. When judges become invested in your characters, they are more likely to appreciate the story you’re telling and the talent you bring to the table.

Consider providing your characters with rich backstories that shape their motivations and actions throughout the narrative. Show their growth and transformation as they face challenges and overcome obstacles. By crafting multidimensional characters, you can create a story that resonates with readers on an emotional level, leaving a lasting impact.

Furthermore, explore the relationships between your characters and the dynamics that unfold between them. Whether it’s a complex love triangle, a deep friendship, or a bitter rivalry, compelling interactions can add depth and complexity to your story. By focusing on character development, you can create a narrative that captivates the judges and sets your entry apart from the rest.

Submitting Your Entry: Do’s and Don’ts

As the submission deadline approaches, it’s essential to keep a few crucial do’s and don’ts in mind:

Meeting Deadlines: The Importance of Time Management

Deadlines are non-negotiable in the world of writing competitions. Make sure you give yourself ample time to write, edit, and polish your piece before the submission cutoff. Procrastination can be a writer’s worst enemy, so manage your time wisely and prioritize your writing goals accordingly.

Formatting and Presentation Tips

First impressions matter, even in the realm of writing competitions. Check the submission guidelines for any specific formatting requirements and adhere to them meticulously. Pay attention to font size, margins, and any other instructions given. Presenting your work professionally shows judges that you take their competition seriously and are committed to excellence.

Avoiding Common Submission Mistakes

Lastly, be mindful of common submission mistakes that can undermine your chances of success. Proofread your work multiple times to catch any grammatical or spelling errors. Double-check word limits and follow all instructions precisely. By carefully reviewing your submission, you can minimize the risk of disqualification due to easily avoidable errors.

Armed with these tips and strategies, you now have the tools to craft a winning entry for writing competitions in 2023. The key is to stay focused, believe in your abilities, and let your unique voice shine through in your writing. So go forth, embrace the challenge, and make a name for yourself in the exciting world of writing competitions!

When it comes to meeting deadlines, it’s not just about finishing your piece on time. Time management plays a crucial role in the quality of your work as well. Giving yourself ample time to write, edit, and polish your piece allows you to approach it with a fresh perspective and make necessary improvements. It also helps you avoid the stress and pressure that come with last-minute submissions. So, as you plan your writing process, be sure to allocate enough time for each stage, including brainstorming, drafting, revising, and proofreading.

In addition to meeting deadlines, it’s important to consider the impact of formatting and presentation on your submission. While the content of your writing is of utmost importance, judges also take into account how well your work is presented. Following the specified formatting guidelines demonstrates your attention to detail and professionalism. It shows that you respect the competition and are willing to go the extra mile to present your work in the best possible way. So, take the time to review the guidelines, make necessary adjustments, and ensure that your submission stands out visually as well.

When it comes to avoiding common submission mistakes, there are a few key areas to focus on. One of the most common errors is overlooking grammatical and spelling mistakes. Even the most well-crafted piece can be undermined by careless errors. To avoid this, make sure to proofread your work thoroughly. Read it multiple times, and consider using proofreading tools or asking a trusted friend or colleague for feedback. Another common mistake is not adhering to the specified word limits. Going over or under the limit can result in disqualification, so be sure to count your words accurately. Finally, carefully read and follow all instructions provided in the submission guidelines. Missing even a small detail can give the impression that you did not take the competition seriously or did not pay attention to the requirements.

Remember, writing competitions are an opportunity to showcase your skills and creativity. By following these do’s and don’ts, you can increase your chances of success and make a lasting impression on the judges. So, embrace the challenge, believe in your abilities, and let your unique voice shine through in your writing. Good luck!