Friday, November 12, 2010

Confessions of a Contest Addict

My friends tease me because it always seems I'm winning something. In fact, just this week I won two tickets to the movie MegaMind in 3D and a $25 gift card to a great restaurant. Call me lucky or blessed, just don't call me a loser!

I've won gift cards ranging from $5 to $250, overnight stays in hotels, oodles of movie tickets, books and cash. Last year, I even randomly won a national Pepsi contest for two nights at Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa with two rounds of 18-holes of golf for four people. This package was worth almost $1,000 dollars.

So, what everyone always asks me is: How do you always win?

And what I always answer is: I always enter.

Seriously. That's it. Enter enough contests and you're bound to win a few. The truth is, for every item I win, I enter at least a dozen contests.

I will admit that I am Dutch, and the Dutch are notorious for being cheap. I don't know if this fuels my desire to get things for free, but besides contests, I also fill out surveys for credit. With this credit, I earn rewards like retail and restaurant gift cards. I also have one credit card with which I pay for almost everything. Every dollar I spend earns one or more "points" which I can exchange for rewards (I do pay off my balance every month, by the way). I use a rewards card at the gas station and acquire punch/stamp cards for the retail stores that offer them. In other words, my wallet is bursting at the seams with cards. But hey. I get free stuff!

A few rewards sites I recommend:

Of course, randomly winning things and using reward and/or punch cards isn't the same as entering something like a writing contest where winning is based on talent. But having won a few of those, too, I confess I've become rather addicted. There's something about winning that just makes me a winner! Lest it go to my head, though, God allows me to acquire some low scores and bottom of the barrel placements once in a while. Definitely not fun, but it keeps me humble and, if I'm honest, makes me even more determined to win next time.

For those of you who want to join me in Contest Addicts Not-so-Anonymous, here are some of the writing contests I recommend:

*ACFW Genesis Contest for unpublished authors

*Wow-Women on Writing Flash Fiction contest

*RWA Gotcha!

*Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition

*Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition

*The Phoenix Rattler: Does Your Story Have Bite? contest

*Get Your Stiletto in the Door Chicklit contest

*Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

*Faith, Hope & Love contest

*Gemini Magazine Flash Fiction contest

*FaithWriters Page Turner contest

*Creative Writing Now Memoir Writing competition

Q4U: What cool prizes have you won?

Hey, speaking of contests, have you entered the two I have going right now on this blog? For my 12 Books of Christmas Giveaway Event, this week Linda Ford is giving away a copy of Christmas Under Western Skies HERE. That giveaway ends tonight at midnight, so hurry up already!

Also, author and former Mrs. Montana, Angela Breidenbach, is giving away a copy of her latest cookbook, Creative Cooking for Simple Elegance HERE. That one ends next Friday at midnight. But still, enter now before you forget!


Charity said...

I love entering contests and giveaways:) I have yet to win anything real big but I win books, clothing, toys for my siblings and other small things.
Thanks for encouraging me to enter more.

Diana said...

I'll admit I'm not quite an addict (when it comes to contests anyhow - coffee... now that's another story). But I do get a kick out of entering. Here's my question. Should you write FOR a contest or write first and THEN enter the contest? I find myself using contest deadlines as motivation, but then sometimes I lose my drive once that date is past... does that make sense? And then if I do so-so (or stinking terribly) in the contest that work languishes in my C drive fooooorrrrever.

Lynda Schab said...

I know what you mean, Diana. Sometimes I take something I already have and tailor it for a particular contest. Unless it specifically calls for fresh material, of course. FaithWriters Challenge entries come in really handy for a creative boost. :-)