Friday, January 17

Contests for young writers

My daughter mentioned that she was helping a friend with edits on a manuscript that the friend was submitting to a writing contest. We talked a bit about the process and then I asked her if she, herself, had thought about entering any contests.

She shrugged.

It occurs to me that some of these contests (the legitimate ones, anyway) offer not only honor and glory (and occasional cash prizes), but also experience in patience, acceptance, and rejection. They also offer young people the opportunity to begin building a portfolio of work and a resume to match.

When we began to search out some contests that might be appropriate to enter, we found a great number of hits for our search terms. Unfortunately, many of the hits were for sites with suspicious names and lacked any sort of accreditation with which we could be comfortable. We discovered some long-expired contests, but we otherwise only found submission guidelines for Cricket magazine and a local library contest.

This led me to consider online library resources. I didn't necessarily find anything in the databases, but we took the adventure to contact the 24/7 librarian through the dialogue portal on the site. My daughter was soon connected to "Gillian," who offered the sites we had originally found and then dug a little deeper, particularly in terms of helping us narrow down the search to "reputable" sites.

It was a fruitful set of results and Gillian was responsive and helpful. He/she also reminded us to use .edu or .gov to help narrow our sources. [Aside: these are also the appropriate web extensions to locate art and text in the public domain.]

To save you a little trouble, and to offer up a little bit of competition for my daughter, here are some of the sites we are considering:

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