How to Feel Confident Entering Author Competitions

Entering competitions can seem like a daunting and unfruitful process if you don’t win. However, the experience you gain from entering competitions allows you to build confidence and knowledge of the industry you wouldn’t gain elsewhere. You just need to adjust your mindset. It seems likely that most people’s goal when entering a competition is to win, right? Whilst this may be the overall goal there are many little steps involved in the overall process which are much more beneficial to you as a writer than just simply winning ‘the big prize’.

Competitions are there to be utilised as a challenge. Maybe you have to adhere to a brief or theme you are unfamiliar with or gain confidence to start networking with other professionals in the industry. The benefits of entering competitions include but are not limited to;  prizes (this could be a cash prize, a full book read, quality feedback from experts and publishers), shortlists, honourable mentions, networking, building repertoire, reviews, inspiration, exposure and familiarity-being more accustomed to the experience and process.

The great thing about competitions is the range they come in, there are bigger, more prestigious competitions which can be intimidating for newbies but there are a whole host of smaller competitions too. Ones local in your area, online competitions and online groups may host smaller monthly competitions which is great practice for those larger competitions. There are also a plethora of different competitions for different styles of writing and texts. Ever fancied dabbling in poetry? Or dipping your toe into the world of flash fiction? A competition may allow you to feel in a more comfortable starting point, especially when there may be a theme or brief attached. It allows the unknown to seem less daunting as you’ve not got a complete full reign.


So what are you waiting for? Simply search for local or online writing competitions with a quick web search, but for a head start, I’ve listed some below that may be of interest.  


Cranked Anvil Flash Fiction Competition

[ Cranked Anvil Website ]

This competition is held quarterly for flash fiction with a limit of 500 words of any theme or genre. They also have a short story competition.

Creative Future Writers’ Award

[ Creative Future Writers’ Award Website ]

Held in June every year for short stories and poems, this competition boasts a huge £10,000 first-place prize coupled along with mentorship. This award celebrates underrepresented writers who have faced a lack of opportunity due to mental health, disability, being working class, being part of the LGBTQIA+ community or BAME writers. The competition is usually themed. 

First Drafts

[ First Drafts Website ]

An annual competition that is held in April for previously unpublished writers of a novel or short story collection. I highlighted this award as the prize is a week-long writing retreat at West Dean College, detailed editorial feedback from the judges and six months of mentoring from a Myriad author. 

Globe Soup Short Story Competition

[ Globe Soup Website ]

This short story competition also runs every year for short stories of up to 5,000 words. Each year the competition selects a country that writers must set their story in, however they are unaware of which country it will be until after entry. The top prize is £1000. Globe Soup also has a poetry competition.

Ledbury Poetry Competition

[ Ledbury Poetry Festival Website ]

Another annual competition, this poetry competition prides itself on its lasting relationships with many of its entrants, often inviting them back to host workshops, performances and residencies. This competition has become more international with various international winners. 


For more UK writing competitions follow the link below for Neon Books extensive compilation:


Researched and Written by Erin Rose Kyle

No Comments

Post A Comment