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To Enter or Not to Enter Writing Contests
If you are a freelance writer, it is because you love to write. Why not put those abilities to use and enter a writing contest? You have nothing to loose and a lot to gain. You can find writing contests by simply searching the Internet. Writing groups and message boards may also have listing for these contests. No matter what you writing genre maybe poetry, fiction, non fiction, there is a contest out there for you. Read about them and choose which ones are right for you. It is not necessarily about winning or loosing but about the experience and knowledge that you gain to get there.
Whether you win or not there are still valuable things that can be learned or gained by entering into contests. Entering writing contests will help you hone the skills that you have. Try something new, you may choose to write in a niche that you normally wouldn?t. You get constructive criticism from someone new. Someone that doesn?t have to worry about hurting your feelings and that is unbiased can be a wonderful asset to your career. The feedback you receive can be invaluable to you. It will get your name out there and give you a place to showcase your work.
Depending on how good your story, if you make it to the next round your writings could be in front of editors and agents. This feedback and criticism is even more important than the first. Do not your eggs all in one basket. Enter a couple contests to get multiple feedback sources. Not every editor or agent is going to agree. By entering multiple contests and find common points about your writing that need perfecting you will be able to concentrate on a general consensus about your abilities.
There are some downsides to entering writing contests, too. Chances are that a simple contest is not going to launch your career into star status. Do your research just as if you were going to write an article about contests. For many contests you give up your rights to your entry whether it wins or not. You need to decide whether or not you are willing to give up all rights to your story. If you win it is not a big deal, but if you loose your giving your work away. Are you willing to do this?
Research the contest. You can search the Internet for reports or opinions on contests run by the company. You can find valuable information on if the contest is legitimate, if entering has had any effect of previous entrant?s careers, and if it is really worth it in the long run. The bigger and well-established companies will give credibility to your work if you win. But the bigger and more well know the companies are will also bring in tougher competition with well know authors.
Some companies offer contests as a disguise. Yes they will give away prizes and declare winners but their main goal with the contest is advertising. It can be in the form of offering you to buy obscure book featuring your contest submission. Sometimes it is an editing company that offers a discount for its services or a company that will offer you discounts on writing classes.
A writing contest is just a possible stepping stone. Whether it helps you or not is the unknown, but it definitely won?t hurt you. It may help you reach the next level of your career. You and only you will be able to make the decision on whether or not writing contests are a good move for your career.
Got an Offer? How to Evaluate the Company to Ensure It?s the Right Move Being offered a new job is always a great feeling. No matter what type of job it is, the fact that the employer wants you is very satisfying. The inclination to put in your two-week notice and start packing up your desk can be exhilarating. However, be sure that you know what you are getting into before you plunge into a new job. The terms of a job offer should be written out in black and white, literally. Whenever a company offers a job to someone, there should be literature about the position to read. When the offer is made, be sure to spend some time reading over the literature and finding out exactly what the terms and conditions of the job are. Salary, benefits and the terms of employment should all be very clear before you accept the offer. Be sure that you read the fine print. This is especially true from sales jobs. That advertised rate of pay might be what you make with commission. Without the commission you may not have a salary at all. This could be a major issue if your sales do not go well. Salary is one of the most important things to find out about before you take a job. Make sure that what they are offering as base pay is enough for you to live comfortably on. Bonuses can sound really great when employers discuss them with you. However, what you have to do to earn the bonuses may be very difficult. Thus making the bonuses obsolete the majority of the time. Restaurant management is a career path where many times your bonuses are based on the success of your particular restaurant. Not you yourself. That means that when the restaurant is not doing well, there will be no bonuses. The hours you will be working is another issue you will want to tackle before you take the job. Find out exactly what you are expected to work. This could be tricky with salaried positions. Find out what the average amount of hours is that employees spend on the job. Will there be travel? Many jobs post this in their advertisements but others are not so forthcoming with this information. Living out of a suitcase can be ideal for some but if you are not looking forward to having a relationship with your spouse strictly through cell phones and e-mails, you better inquire. If you are not open to travel be sure to find out if travel could be included in your position. The environment at the office could be hard to gauge. However, if you go to an interview and are not greeted in the lobby or see a few scowling employees, chances are, the office environment is a bit hostile. This is a major thing to consider when taking a job. Is the management hiring new personnel in order to replace the existing personnel? If they are, why does the existing personnel need to be replaced? Try to feel out the environment of the office when you are waiting for your interviews to take place. What will your job entail? Will there be times that you are expected to do things that go against your better judgment? Will you be surrounded by a corporate mentality that is concerned only with numbers? Are you going to be able to put your reservations aside and carry out the job that needs to be done? If a job offer is made immediately, you may want to be leery of this position. Try to find out about the turnover rate of this position. There may be a reason why the employer is so ready to offer you the job.
Online Writing Labs: You have One Available for You (online writing labs) There are numerous colleges and universities around the United States and the world that offer online writing labs. The labs are designed to offer help and instruction for any writing matter. Most Online writing labs are only available to the students of the offering college or university, but there are a few that are open to the general public. Virginia Tech has an online self help section and email help available for questions you have about grammar. The online writing labs are beneficial to both the writer in need of the help and the person helping them. The helper or tutors are usually graduate students working for their degree they benefit from the additional teaching practice. The students are getting proofreading, critiquing, and feedback along with any help they may need. The online writing labs were created by the schools to offer extra help to their students in their writing. They offer support in most areas of writing including choosing a topic, grammar help, revising a draft, and editing. They provide tutored help in these areas to students and faculty. Many online writing labs are set up to help you in three ways; online self help, email support, and one on one personal support. The online self help applications are available 24 hours a day. For the email support you email in your paper or project and you will receive a response with in 24 hours. The one on one personal support is a great way for students to learn how to do their own proofreading and editing. The tutors will help show the students what to look for and how to find their own mistakes. This is a great opportunity for help with someone other than a teacher. Even though the online help is available student are encouraged to use the writing lab tutors on a regular basis to improve their writing skills. Purdue University has an online writing lab they call OWL. It offers a wealth of information that virtually anyone can use. They offer a highly detailed step by step instruct of the writing process and huge section on professional, technical, and scientific writing. A section in job search writing that walks you through everything, from your academic coversheet to writing a personal statement, step by step. General Academic writing and research and citation help. This is the best site for offering its advice absolutely free. This site definitely deserves to be bookmarked on your computer if you are a serious writer, a student, a teacher, it really doesn?t matter. The University of Richmond has a program they call Writing Center. Although not as complex as Perdue?s they offer online self help topics for writers. Starting with the writing process to grammar and punctuation, it is another option for you. The University of Wisconsin has the Writing Center that offers some help with the basics. One thing to keep in mind that many of the universities and colleges that offer these many take them offline in between semesters and on breaks. If you are a student, many of you have an online writing lab available at your school or one that reciprocates with your school. Though the general public have self help online help available to them, chances are your school will offer some sort of one on one help to guide you through your work. Check it out it could be very beneficial to you. If you don?t have one available, it is highly recommend checking out OWL at Perdue or search the Internet. There are a lot of self-help online writing labs available to you.