South African essay writing competitions 2018-2019

3 months ago written by

Essay writing competitions are contests where entrants submit their written work to a panel of judges in the hopes of winning a prize. They are held all over the world and many even date back hundreds of years. Thankfully, the wonders of modern technology have made the entry process a lot easier and more accessible to a far larger audience. Thanks to the internet, you can enter competitions being held across the world from the comfort of your couch. The ease of digital uploads means you don’t have to worry about your application getting lost in the mail, along with your entry fees!

Why you should enter

The incentives for these competitions often involve a cash prize element. This can be particularly attractive for students, looking to make some extra cash or those looking to subsidise their regular income via their passion for writing. Many contests also offer scholarships or partial bursaries to winners, so instead of just some casual income, winning could change the course of your life.

The competitions are also attractive to journalism or literature students looking to make a name for themselves in literary and media circles.  They are often run by, or sponsored by big publishers and media houses, and include the work being published or shortlisted as part of the prize.

It’s not just about winning

Outside of the obvious prize money and prestige of winning, essay writing competitions offer several other benefits for aspiring writers.  If you’re not the most naturally motivated worker, having a submission deadline and concrete rewards to finishing a piece of work, could help push you to finish something you’ve been putting off or motivate you to take the plunge and start. This momentum will, in turn, will help you build up a body of work and start piecing together your portfolio.

Most young writers have a few seasoned writers they look up to and turn to for inspiration. When entering a competition, do a bit of research about who the judges will be. You could get a chance to meet one of your literary heroes should you win or at the very least, be able to say they have read your work.  

Even if you are not a writer, writing competition wins looks great on a resume for any profession or university application for any department.  A writing credit shows you are a good written communicator, which often translates into verbal communication as well. It also shows you have the ability to research a subject and relay your findings in a concise and logical manner. These are skills needed in almost any space.

What to look out for when you enter

Certain competitions require an entry fee to be paid upon application. Make sure you are not risking more than you can afford to lose. Also, make sure the fees are reasonable enough for the prize value or prestige of winning.  The entry rules may also state that you cannot publish your work elsewhere during the competition period, or even thereafter. Make sure you are clear what your copyrights are.

Before you invest the time and energy of making an application, be sure to read the rules and entry requirements carefully. Certain competitions are only open to members of a university, or a certain age group or race or residents of a certain country.  Also be sure to have a thick skin. For every accepted entry, there could be ten rejected ones. For every competition won, there could be 100 lost.

What tools do you have to help?

You don’t have to be a writing prodigy to win. There are several tools at your disposal that could help improve your chances.  You could compile a competition calendar listing the submission deadlines for all the competitions you are interested in. Sharing the calendar with friends and family will help keep you accountable for meeting those deadlines. Learn from previous winners by studying their entries. Learn the tone, composition, and style the judges seem to like. This doesn’t mean you have to change who you are as a writer, but it’s helpful to keep these pointers in mind as you write and use them as guidance.

If the piece is applicable and the rules allow, enter the same piece of writing in multiple competitions. You are maximising your potential for results with minimum effort. If minimum effort is definitely your thing, you could also employ the assistance of a professional writing service like Custom Writings where a team of highly skilled writers are available to help you craft a masterpiece. The service produces a carefully compiled, plagiarism-free piece of work in whichever format you require. You could work with your assigned pro and provide guidance for the essay or simply allow them to craft it on your behalf.

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