The simple and most straightforward guides to writing a winning essay contest are easy to come by – Guides like:
- Submit a story founded on the theme you are writing for;
- Write grammatically correct words without exceeding the word count
- Follow all the instructions stipulated by the organizers;
- Proofread your story and submit it right before the deadline.
However, these tips are immature and inadequate to win an essay contest. The tips centre on the story’s writing and not the story itself: they explore the art of writing like righteous grammar police, not the act of writing as a creative researcher and human.
Essays are meant to be creative, command words and language not for the mere thrill but for the calculated description of an event in the most appealing way. People win essay competitions by abiding by various codes by which submitting the story of a speculated genre is. For example, imagine sending romantic nonfiction to a crime and action thriller fiction.
Writing essays is easy! You can quickly review ideas and develop the piece. But to write a winning essay for contests, you need a comprehensive guide. There are, however, numerous practical guides to writing and winning an essay competition.
12 Powerful Guidelines to Winning an Essay Competition
Read the Essay Competition Rules
Many people often ignore the competition rules during application. As a result, they neglect the demands of the contest: the specific theme, participant’s requirements, word limits, deadline, regulations, the criteria to select the winner, and other minor details.
To win, read about the judges if their identities are disclosed. This relevant checklist will help you comprehend the contest and the judges’ expectations and offer you an idea of how to win the competition.
Reflect on Different Concepts for Theme
Some essay contests provide themes, while some do not. However, when themes are given, stick to them. While you reflect on the subject of a competition, many ideas will flash through your mind, jot them down.
It has been discovered that waiting to track the perfect idea will make you ignore potential perfect ideas. This means that while ideas flow through your mind, jot them down; a concept will stick along when you go through them again. Don’t jump right into the essay; reflect on numerous thoughts before writing.
Start with a Compelling Title and Opening
After choosing the concept that best suits the essay’s theme, be intentional about your title and the opening paragraphs. If you select a title like “She Loves Control” for a romance essay, consider “Cassandra Nancy Loves Control”. Reveal your characters from your headline. It arouses interest and emphasis on such character until the end of the story.
People ignore this a lot. They believe creativity is crucial in winning an essay, but they marginalize the role of research. Research helps to enrich your understanding of the idea. If you want to write about the LGBTQ life and the adversity involved in recognizing the identity, you need to research even if you’re queer. This is because other people go through what you do, and narrating your experience for an essay contest isn’t enough. Tell other people’s stories, even a bit, in personal essays.
Write a Draft
Many people wait for the perfect moment and an ideal mood to write an essay. As a result, they resist the impulse to start writing right away. Although it works differently for different people, it suffices to resist all urge to resist the urge to write. In other words, write the draft without holding back.
Don’t Edit Your Essay While Writing It.
Some people are so conscious; that they edit their essays while they write. This interrupts the writing pace and exercise and lets a budding idea slip away. When the breeze of muse blows, it is essential that you clench your fist around it and not let it go until you’re done with the draft.
Revise and Proofread
People write many drafts. Some structure the essay and write drafts for each structure. However, regardless of how you came by the sketch, revise, revise, and revise! Proofread, proofread, and proofread!
It is the interval to correct your mistake and fine-tune your language in the precise way you’ll prefer it. You’ll discover sentences to delete, phrases or sentences to rephrase or rewrite and other punctuation or tense error to correct. Further, it will enhance reading your essay from a fresh perspective. After this, you can take a break (if you didn’t take a break after writing the draft) to cool your head and mind for creativity.
Research and Read About the Judges
While taking a break for perhaps a few hours, days, or weeks, make sure to read other materials about your essay. There are valuable materials to improve your article.
You can also use the break to read about the judges, other essays they had judged, and their written pieces. This will give you intuition about their potential bias due to their use. Plus, it guides you to edit your essay to their exact expectation.
Please return to the Essay and Make it Stand Out.
Grab the attention of the judges and readers by avoiding clichés; describe the events – don’t tell, be creative with the storytelling, utilize original language, and let your essay flow with your originality.
Your essay must not appear forced; it will disrupt the flow of the story and bore the readers. Your content must be imagery to capture the judges and interest your readers.
Read also: 12 inspiring books for self-improvement
Revise Your Essay
After editing, revise again. You should edit and revise it as many times as you can. You can use writing tools like Grammarly to track your grammatical accuracy and conciseness.
Format Your Essay and Make It Look Professional
Formatting an essay is as fundamental as writing the essay. Make it neat and tidy, stick by the double-spacing rule if provided, structure the paragraphs, etc.
Review the Rules, Revise Your Essay, and Submit
When you think you are done, keep your entry aside, reexamine the rules, and reread your entry before you submit it. You may have omitted a minor detail that is necessary. Please correct it. When you verify sticking by all rules and guidelines, SUBMIT!
About the Author
Akinwale Peace Akindayo (AKA Philip Peace) writes poetry, creative nonfiction, and essays from a small room in North Central Nigeria. He is a publisher on Barren Magazine, Agbowo Art Magazine, African Writer, Ngiga Review & elsewhere. He tweets via Peace Akinwale.
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