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The Ins and Outs of Free Writing Contests
(free writing contests)
Free writing contests are available by the thousands. They are virtually a dime a dozen on the Internet. No matter what your niche is in the writing community there is a free writing contests out there for you. How do you know which ones to enter and which ones are legitimate? That?s simple. You do what you do best-- research.
While providing the story for the free writing contest will probably be the easy part, researching the thousands of available contests will be a daunting task. If this is un-chartered water for you, you have the start at the beginning. Finding what free writing contests are available. Grab a notebook or start a word document and list the contests that are available. Beside each contest name you will want to put what kind of writing they are looking for and when it needs to be done by. By doing this first you will be able to eliminate any that do not coincide with your writing niche or with your schedule.
Now the free writing contest research begins. Finding out if a contest is worthwhile and legitimate is comparable to running a background check on a person. First check the contest website. Do they have all contact information available? Do they tell you what company is hosting the contest? If they are not, you will have likely found warning number one that it is a scam. So scratch those off your list or at least move them to the bottom until you can find out more information on them. Start asking around to colleagues and writers groups. Search the writing forums and the Internet scam sites. The Better Business Bureau is also a good place to look.
Once you narrowed the free writing contests down to the legitimate ones, read the contest rules and regulations. Some contests require you signing over all rights to a story even if you don?t win. Are you willing to do this? Giving up rights to you writing is a lot easier to do when you are getting something in return. After you enter there is no going back, so make sure this is what you want to do.
The final thing you need to look for is if the contest is just a cover up to get you to buy services or products. This does not necessarily mean they are a scam or don?t actually award winners. It simply means that they will try to entice you to use their critiquing services or offer you a book at a reduced fee that your work will be published in. Being published sounds like a great deal but is it a book that carries prestige that people are going to see?
Many authors think that writing contests will launch their career into a successful endeavor. This is not the case, especially for free writing contests. Even winning the grand prize of a smaller known contest is not going to affect your literary journey. Even though they may not springboard your career, there are good reasons to join writing contests. You will get unbiased opinions and valuable feedback from the judges. If you make it into the higher rounds, editors could also see your writing.
Ultimately whether you enter a free writing contest the choice is yours. Just ask you self if the time spent writing and researching the piece you choose to enter is worth writing for free in most cases. The critique and feedback may be the most worthwhile thing you receive from the contest. But then again the judges opinions are a dime a dozen just like the contests.
Keeping your Career Intact During Maternity Leave Since, for the most part, maternity leave in this country is not paid, the reality of returning to work after having a baby comes much sooner than it does in most countries. No one wants to return to absolute chaos after they have the baby. Cut down on the stress of going back to work by being prepared. The length of your maternity leave can determine the amount of stress you return to. If you are willing and able it is a good idea to work as long as possible. Of course, everyone is not willing and able. For those that need a longer leave, they should put some plans in place to make the transition back to work smoother. How long you are on maternity leave varies. However, if you plan on returning after you have the baby, you do not want to return to a totally chaotic situation. That means that you want to have the needs of your career in tact before you take your maternity leave. Nothing should interfere with your new addition to the family. While you are bonding and spending time with your newborn you do not want the stress of the office hanging over your head. Lay the ground work so that you do not have to worry about the office while you are away. If you are the boss, you have a lot more stress to manage. It is important that you leave a responsible and capable person in charge of things in your absence. Start training that person to deal with the aspects of your job that they will have to handle as soon as you know you are pregnant. Nothing is more annoying than getting ?How do I?? phone calls when you are on maternity leave. If your job is massive, split the responsibilities between two employees. You do not want to split up the tasks among too many people because this can lead to confusion. Two should be the maximum. Be sure to leave things in order. If you are not the most organized person, get that way when you find out you are pregnant. While you are on maternity leave anyone should be able to walk into your office and find what they are looking for in a very short amount of time. If things are messy there is more of a chance for things to go wrong. If you are one of those women that needs to have an extended maternity leave because of pregnancy complications, don?t fret. Enjoy your time offer and relax but also, if you can, try to stay on top of what is happening in your career field. Take an online class and brush up on skills. If you are not sure you want to return to your 9-5, research a new career. The Internet has made working from home a very real and popular option. Search for a job that will allow you to stay at home but also bring in some income. Some jobs, such as Computer Programming, can fetch a pretty penny. Do some research and find out what will suit you best. Work part time until you are ready to have the baby. While some women are eager to take their maternity leave, others are not so excited about it. If that is the case, talk to your employer about working part time until you are due. Some women work until they go into labor. There is no need to do that if you are uncomfortable but if you are having an uneventful pregnancy and love your job, why not?