Saturday, February 28, 2009

How to win a writing Contest - Part 1

There is nothing that feels better than winning a writing contest. Winning an essay contest is especially poignant because it lets you gain recognition for arguing for something you believe in. However, no matter how much you believe in what you're writing, you won't win on passion alone. Winning an essay contest requires flawless craftsmanship, careful adherence to the rules, and a novel hook to get the attention of the judges.

  1. Above all else, follow the rules! If you are over the word limit by even one word, you will probably be disqualified. If the essay contest states that all essays have to begin with the word “I believe,” and yours starts with “I firmly believe,” you will probably be disqualified. It doesn't matter how good your essay is if they don't read it because you broke the rules.
  2. Brainstorm. Come up with as many ideas as you can before you start writing. The more different ways you can imagine addressing the essay topic, the more flexibility you will have when you start writing it.
  3. Be confident. Don't hedge by making excessive use of phrases like “I think” or “it seems to me.” Convince yourself that what you have to say is important, and write your contest essay With that knowledge.
I will write another follow-up to this post sometime next week to tell more about how to win a writing contest.

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