When you are starting out as a writer, you might not be sure of what to do to get exposure. If like most, you feel your writing skills are good enough and you have received positive reviews from your family, then may the force be with you. That being said, there is more to writing than just getting your family to read what you have to say. You already know that making a living is the key at the end of the day. You might consider starting a blog and see where that takes you. After a few articles and a few months blogging, you will realize that blogging is not enough. You need to find ways to get people to visit your blog and hopeful get return visitors. By the time you start to get people to leave comments on your site, you are already a few months down the line. By this time, you have not earned a single dime. Desperation might begin to set in and you might decide to give up on your dream. That is unfortunately the reality of those who decide to make a living writing online. There is no easy way to go about it. It will either be your time or your money. Some people who couldn't be bothered to wait for things to happen have just paid to quickly fill their websites or blog with paid articles. The idea is to pay someone to write your articles. Not everyone can afford to shell out hundreds of dollars just to fill a website. That is why the majority write their own content.
Others have decided to enter writing competition to make a bit of money and get further recognition. Well, let us talk about writing competition. A few years ago, I joined a few paid sites about song competition. I wrote the lyrics; put them into music and did the remix; I paid to participate and uploaded my music. I waited and waited and waited. I received an email listing the top 3 songs but mine was not on the list. I was disappointed and felt I had wasted my time and money. The next month I received an email inviting me to participate in another competition, I didn't even bother, I just deleted the mail. I then did a search, hoping to find out what happened to past winners. Well, nothing! You win the competition and you get some monetary incentive but you never become famous. You could at least say you won a singing competition. The real winners are the organizers. They are guaranteed a steady income as long as the likes of you and me keep paying to participate in their competitions. Does this analogy mean you should not participate in writing contests or competitions? Not exactly! Writing is not music but there are similarities when it comes to competitions. Writing competitions are good because you get to test yourself against other writers. They can help sharpen your skills and put you in contact with other writers in similar situation. You will also learn to write against deadlines. You will learn to write quickly and to the point. There are many advantages to participating in writing competitions. However, you should not get carried away. You need to understand the game in order for it to beneficial. Here are a few points that you will need to bear in mind.
Money: If you want to participate in any writing contests or competition, do not pay for the opportunity. You are writing because you want to make residual income and the chances that you will lose are huge. It has nothing to do with how good your writing is. Writing is subjective, the judging panel either likes what you write or not. How can they judge solely based on your style? That is what it is about. They either like it or not. Some writers have been fortunate to have won various writing competitions. They are the exception and not the rule. You might be good but there is someone just as good as you or even better than you.
Rights: Beware of Competitions and contests that take over the ownership of your article. This will be a different case if you were to win. For example, you entered a competition where the winner gets 200 dollars or better still 200 Euros. If you were to write a 500 words article and you won the first prize of 200 Euros, which is good money for such a short article. There should be no problem in giving up the rights to your article. However, if you lost and you are asked to give up the rights to your article, then think twice. That is losing twice. Some competitions might offer you about 5 to 10 dollars to buy your article if they like it. You will have to decide if you want such an up payment and give away your article. There is no right or wrong with regards to this. By the way, 5 or 10 dollars is a better offer than nothing.
Here is a list of websites offering writing contests and competitions. This list is not comprehensive but I only chose a few that have no participation fee.
The competition is called "Just Back": http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travel-writing-competition/
Crime Writing Competition http://uktv.co.uk/alibi/homepage/sid/8165
Future writer's competition: http://www.writersofthefuture.com/
Travelling competition: http://www.synergise.com/tales/contributors.php
As stated previously, those who make money are the organizers. You might want to organize your own writing competition if you feel up to it. You will need to have a website, money, traffic to your site, a payment method to reward winners etc. There is more to a writing contest than just starting a website. If you are determined enough, there is no reason why you shouldn't give it a try. You could visit other sites offering writing competitions to get some inspirations for your contest. Remember that cash is king and cash incentives will drive more people to your site. That can also be a problem if you don't have enough cash. You might get people addicted to your site and they would want you to continue. So what would you do? That is why you need to think it through before you begin. Writing competitions are fun and you could learn a lot about yourself and about writing from them.