10 Useful Tips to Win Poetry Competition

Posted on: 23rd February 2014

To hone your writing skills, it is important for both beginners and seasoned writers to take part in poetry competitions. Participating in such contests will not only add to your experience as a writer but also bring your imagination to work. Writing poetry is very liberating to writers and also helps in honing your writing techniques. It is an overwhelming opportunity because sometimes there are no rules whatsoever, while in other cases there are strict guidelines you have to comply with.

While the former gives you complete liberty to perfect this art according to your way, the latter teaches you to obey the rules in writing. Both are still essential to make you a prolific poet and writer, which in turn can increase your chances of winning poetry competitions.

To make sure that writing skills are built on a solid foundation, here are some important tips that you must make use of. Use them to improve your chances of winning the competition as a writer:

  1. A pen and paper should be in hands all the time. Or it could also be your iPad, whichever suits you better. You never know when the words start flowing from your mind. Whether you are travelling or just staying at home, at any time of the day, you should have it ready with you so that you can jot down the thoughts that come from your mind. You can never know which one can turn out to be the winner.
  2. Stay far from common and predictable topics. Do not write about the complications of love life or the racial abuse and discrimination even if you are tempted to do so. Most other poets would write on these very topics. So if you want to win the competition you need to rise above from these trite and obvious poet themes. It would give you a considerable edge over other writers.
  3. Understand the type of poetry. There are competitions which are open to both rhyming poetry and free verse. Do not make the mistake of confusing free verse poetry with a prose slab. They are two completely different things. For a verse to be a decent example of poetry, it is important to have rhythm and structure in it. It is acceptable if you take a more imaginative and relaxed approach towards punctuating your poetry. Ensure that you also bring forth its purpose – to give breathing spaces and indicate pauses.
  4. It is important when you write poetry to take note of the rhyming schemes and poetic metres. Especially so when you are writing a specific form of poetry, like a limerick or a sonnet. Make sure not to force phrases at the end of the poetry, just to make it rhyme. This could very well prove to be a huge no-no for the judges. You’d immediately find your entry at the bin.
  5. Be choosy about the vocabulary that you want to use. Avoid using antique phrases and words like “doest”, “poesy” and “thus”. Also ensure that you use the original and fresh metaphors and similes.
  6. When writing poetry for a contest, always keep in mind the rules of the competition. If the judges have set the limit of the poetry to 35 lines then it must be so. You will be spoiling your chances of winning the contest if your poetry exceeds even a line. It can also reflect on your personality – whether you are willing to follow rules or you want to have it done your way.
  7. You may feel you have a winner in your hands but you have to be careful in using the exact same version in every competition that you participate in. This could be the reason for your losing streak. If you are very sure of your poem, what you could do is use the same theme but with a different approach.
  8. Every time before you enter any competition, make sure that what you have is nothing less than perfect. Remember, there will be many others vying for the grand prize so you really get your head in the game and put your best foot forward in writing your poetry piece.
  9. Do not wait for the deadline to complete your creation. Creativity needs time. Keep your poetry ready well before time and keep it aside. Evaluate it after a few days to see if there any improvements required. This will help you get rid of any flaw in your poem and make it perfect. No matter how confident you are about your writing, writing your poem in the last hour and sending it just before deadline is just not how you should do it.
  10. As a writer, always maintain your integrity. Every time you write, give your best to it, no matter how big or small the prize money is. This will add confidence and pride in you as a poet.

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