I rarely enter writing contests, but let's face it, winning is nice, isn't it? (Thank you Charlie Sheen.)
If you're itching for a little competition, feeling smug - or just hopeful - there's a writing contest out there for you. Fan Story features several a day. I can't post this without a bit of advice, of course, which is: think hard before you fork over an entry fee. A couple of bucks here or there probably won't break you, but consider where the fees go and whether you want to contribute to the cause. You might feel comfortable sending money to an organization that offers scholarships, but on the other hand, want to think twice before writing a check to a company that isn't listed with the BBB. Just sayin.'
The contest's terms are also worth a few moments' consideration. The Fish Publishing Co in Ireland hosts several contests each year, none of which have a limit on the number of times you can enter. At about $15 a shot, I guess it's worth the company's time to read what you send. On the other hand, what do those rules mean for your chances? Are you pitting your prose against that of the rest of the writing world, or playing the lottery?
Here's one I really like, and - good news - you're not too old for it: the 2012 Neuroscience for Kids contest is open to writers from Kindergarten to "adult." Different rules apply to different ages. Check it out. Run by Dr. Eric Chudler at the University of Washington's Bioengineering Department, and sponsored by Neuro4Kids, it really is an interesting contest. Hurry, the deadline is February 1.
In fact, I like it so much it's my favorite contest of the year - so far.
It's hard to say what else might come along in 2012, but I'll admit it easily edged the National Peace Essay contest, for high school students, which I've touted in the past. Peace is still a worthwhile cause, and the competition a worthy exercise, though. That contest, too, has a February 1 deadline. So what are you waiting for?
Writers, start your pencils. And may the best words win!