For me entering writing contests hones my skills. Of course, a win is a bonus to it and I have won several plus received Honorable Mentions. Some give writing prompts or pictures for the writer to weave the story around. This is a boon to the imagination necessary to developing a good story. Recently a contest was posted asking a story using only six words. Yes, a writer can actually write a story with a beginning, middle and end using just six words. Ernest Hemingway did it when he wrote: “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” See what I mean?
Other advantages of writing contests: many times a judge is an editor. This is especially true if you are entering a contest that is promoted by a writers’ conference. This could be a way to catch the eye of an editor who is looking for a work like yours. Every advantage in relationship to writing needs to be taken seriously if a writer is serious about writing and getting published. Practice, practice, practice as well as edit, edit, edit is what produces an eye-catching story and hopefully lands with the right person.
Again, I quote Ernest: “Look how it is at the start-all juice and kick to the writer and can’t convey anything to the reader-you use up the juice and the kick goes but you learn how to do it and the stuff when you are no longer young is better than the young stuff-” 1929