Lesson # 1
Be very careful when researching your writing markets and competitions. I've been working hard the last few days on my short story Dead Jimmy for the Writers Inc Writers of the Year Competition which closes for entries today. At the start of the month I opened a file with the details and links of the competitions I wanted to enter for April. I've been checking on the file regularly to make sure I was keeping to the briefs with my stories and that the closing dates really were catching up with me, but I never once thought of checking to see if this competition was open to electronic submission! Usually I make a note in my file on whether the submission is electronic or print, but for some reason I forgot to mention it with Writers Inc. When I clicked on the link to send my story off and enter the competition I found, to my horror, that it is print submission only. The long and the short of it is, I won't be entering this competition and Dead Jimmy needs a new home.
Don't leave entering competitions to the last possible moment.
You could say I put things on the long finger. In fact, my fingers are so long I am probably tickling you while you read this. That's why competition deadlines are a good thing for me, as it gives me a goal I have to be finished by. However, a deadline doesn't mean I have to scrape my entry in at the very last minute, just before the clock strikes twelve on the last day of entry. It is better to be prepared in advance, giving me more time to perfect my stories (hence increasing my chances of winning) and enter well in advance of the closing date so I can get to work on the next submission. It also means that when things like this happen, I will be prepared and not thrown and I won't end up with stories looking for a home.