There are numerous schools of thought about contests. Let's look at two. One lauds contests as a means to land an agent. And success stories abound about how a writer found his/her agent in this way. Critics, though, say that contests (when entered too often) deluge the same agents and publishers with your work…that you appear ‘over-eager’ and ‘desperate.’
Duh. That’s how many writers feel. Excited to get their hard work noticed, desperate to find that one agent who’ll take a chance.
Regardless of how you feel about contests, the downside and upside are one in the same: you get to experience rejection. Lots of it. Some implied (no requests!) and some stated outright through harsh critiques and feedback.
It’s all valuable. We learn to trust our guts on what feedback to take to heart and what feedback to leave behind. We choose to develop a thicker skin and move forward, or we let rejection damage our self- worth and shatter dreams.
Don’t get me wrong -- rejection sucks. REALLY sucks. So find other writers with whom to commiserate and stock up on dark chocolate. (I’m set on both counts.)