Writing Contests-Worth it or not?

posted Sep 7, 2015, 10:04 AM by David Alan Binder   [ updated May 16, 2016, 7:03 AM ]
Writing Contests-Worth it or not?

This is in answer to a reader's question.  Hope this helps all of you, Dear Writers.
What does every writer crave?  Legitimacy
How does a writer obtain legitimacy?  Being published, winning a prize, recommendations or reviews by other writers?  I don’t know. 
Legitimacy comes from within.  If you write you are legitimate.
If you write and others read it and enjoy it you are legitimate.
If you write and you get published (without having to pay) you are legitimate.
If you write and get published by self-publishing you are legitimate.
You determine your own legitimacy by determining what lengths you will go to and what you are willing to pay hoop wise and price wise.
Avoid contests is a good general rule but I’ve entered and won them ($50 savings bond) but, hey, it was money and I won.  Would I do it again? For me it is a case by case basis and if they tell me I have won honorable mention and would I like to buy a bound book with my “writing” in it.  If there is an entry fee that does not make it legitimate.  If they have a prize that alone does not make it legitimate. 
Here are two web sites with interesting points of view on the subject:
A lot of contests are just bait to catch a big fish (you) and get them to pay to enter, pay to publish, pay to edit, pay for anything and you are caught in their fish net.
If you see that an author has won a literary award then likely this is legitimate.  Look up authors and their awards and enter for those awards.  Sometimes only publishers can enter your name or other people not yourself.
If you know of any good ways to obtain an award or win a contest; please by all means, share your story and let us know.  I will in turn inform all our readers.  Thanks in advance for your input:  ab3ring at juno dot com or dalanbinder at gmail dot com