Imagine life as a successful writer, starting a new career or earning cash in your spare time – and enjoying yourself all the while.
Writing well and earning cash for it is not an impossible dream. It is closer and more realistic than many people think.
Not all contests are what they seem. Carolyn Moore, Contest Workshop Leader (Summer 2002) had this to say:
“Ever since a frail man in his eighties told me he chose buying the anthology in which his poem would appear instead of getting his prescription medications for that month, I have been on a local mission to warn the most vulnerable people about such scams.
“I did not understand the skinny component until I won a prize in what I thought was a legitimate contest and received as my $100 prize a $15 check and a huge anthology of dreadful verse ‘valued at $85.’ “
Before entering a contest, be sure that the contest has a jury of professional judges and and pays in cash or online transfer.
- Cash or cash transfer payment
This avoids the possibility that the prize will be replaced with a worthless “gift.”
- Do the contest organizers publish a list of professional jurors?
You need assurance that the evaluation of your story is taking place in a professional manner, not just by a single contest organizer.
- Is the contest associated with a university, foundation or publication?
If the contest is a standalone page with no obvious affiliation, it may be a moneymaking scheme, and little more. Check around and make sure of the background.
- Will the contest require the purchase of a book, paid awards gala or other product?
This could be a sign that the contest is more of a money-grabber than an honest contest.
- Does the contest stipulate the number of winners?
Sometimes there are multiple “Winners.” They may all be hit up for cash to claim the prize.
- Is the prize strictly monetary, or is some other component offered?
A legitimate contest may offer some form of support for a developing writer.
- A list of rules is also important.
It shows that the organizers take the contest seriously.
Vasudha Chandna Gulati
An aspiring writer, Vasudha “went into a daze” with excitement when she saw her name as the first winner. She found Write India’s prompts to be very encouraging; being evaluated on a nation wide scale was her way of understanding if she had what it takes. While writing for Anita Nair, Vasudha says that she was initially intimidated to work on a ‘literary fiction’ piece. After days of thinking she woke up one morning with a faraway childhood memory of a lady, who became her protagonist. She has always felt that once the idea germinates in her mind the story writes itself, so did this one. When her husband read it the only reaction he displayed was with tears in his eyes– that’s when she knew it was time to send it in. Vasudha has written for 7 Write India authors and was the third winner for author Ravinder Singh.
Even if I don’t pursue writing as a career, I think I will write for the rest of my life. I’ve been writing for years now and it has helped me through. Writing is my favorite outlet for stress and creative energy.
Olivia Ragan attends Denver School of the Arts in Denver, Colorado.
Engineering Student, Mumbai
Rohit feels “elated” and “validated as a writer” on being the first winner for Anita Nair. He came to know about Write India through a friend during his final year exams and was hooked upon reading Anita Nair’s prompt. While writing his story, he felt a surge of ideas as he sat with his laptop. Scanning through them mentally, he chose a plot-line and changed his draft several times before sending his final story. Rohit has two blogs of his own, is an active writer on Quora and has a poem to his credit in the All India Poetry Society’s annual journal.
I suppose I always wanted to be a writer, but I never thought I could be one
~2017 Short Story Contest Winner, Rocio Anica
Business Development Executive, Kochi
Shylin says that she’s “crazy happy” to have won; more at the fact that author Anita Nair actually read her story. Shylin started writing four days before the deadline– took two days off from work, went to her grandmother’s place where it’s peaceful and lonely, and just kept typing. She is working on her novels and hopes to be published and take up writing full time. One of her short stories has been published in Malayalam.
“Winning prizes is something we all hope for and never expect to happen. I’m afraid I was as dumbstruck and incoherent as an Oscar-winner, but I was genuinely thrilled.”
Winning the prize money has enabled Sean to support himself while he works on The Other Half of Paradise, a novel that tells the story of Rafael Trujillo, the brutal dictator of the Dominican Republic who, in 1938, offered refuge to 100,000 German Jewish refugees. Has winning the Fiction Prize benefitted Sean’s career in more ways than just financially?
“It certainly gave me a boost in confidence. That is why a prize like the Manchester Fiction prize is so important. I had given up my job in order to write full-time just a couple of months earlier, and was not quite sure how I was going to support myself. Winning could not have come along at a better time, and I will always be grateful to the Competition for that.”
What would Sean say to anyone considering entering the Writing Competition?
“Go for it! You have nothing to lose apart from the entrance fee, and a very great deal to gain.”
Senior Manager, Bangalore
Dinesh had entered the contest previously and upon not winning, he came close to giving up several times. He decided it was better to write something than not participate at all. He is “thrilled” to know that his story made it through this time. He feels, all his stories used to share the same theme and were getting repetitive; he found adapting to the authors’ rules to be quite interesting. Coincidentally he was reading one of Anita Nair’s books when he was writing for her contest. He wrote the story over two weekends and then revised it on the last weekend. A few of his short stories have been published before.
Qualify and enter