This is something that you’ll definitely have to deal with, if you are or plan on becoming a writer. Plenty of people will talk to you and try to convince you to participate in something like that and you’ll have to think about it and decide what’s best for you.
I never have participated in one, for many reasons, laziness, fear of rejection… I don’t know, sometimes I’m just not into it. Maybe I’m not so interested in becoming a well-known writer as I thought I’d be. I really don’t know, but what I DO know is that these contests can be pretty important, especially, for a beginner.
If you really want to be a writer and, in time, perhaps be able to live off of the profits of some of your works, you definitely need to think about it. It will bring some new perspectives about your work and, hopefully, new opportunities for your career. Some very well-recognized authors started out like that, and it might be a way for you to get started as well.
First of all, this kind of contests will take you out of your comfort zone and that’s a great way to evolve as a person and a writer. Your work will be evaluated and compared to those of other authors and you will have a more accurate notion of the impact your writing is having on other people and where you should strive to improve or how you should invest your time into your work.
The contests have a deadline and this is important too. Sometimes, as any writer, you tend to procrastinate and leave something for ‘later’, which is understandable, since you might be tired or have other things you need to do… Well, the contest can teach you how to discipline yourself for the process of writing, something you must learn if you’re serious about becoming a writer, and this becoming your life.
And, of course, winning the contest would be great, not only providing you with motivation, but possibly also a prize since the majority of contests have prizes for the winners. That would be amazing. Yet, were you to lose, that’s actually when you learn the most.
As a writer, most of the time, you will experience plenty of rejection. Sometimes because the work wasn’t so good as you though, other times… the publisher just doesn’t want to invest money or your story is good but not really “fashionable”, or trendy enough, because even in literature, the public appeal is, unfortunately something to keep in mind. So you must deal with rejection all the time, and the sooner you learn to do it, without giving up, the better. The contests are of great help in this regard.
And, sure, you’ll never know who will be there. Some doors may open for you, or you might have some disappointment too, but… if you do not try, you’ll never know.