There are a lot of great contests for writers out there. There is only one problem, most of them I've found are for short stories. I'm terrible at writing short stories! When I get an idea that is worthy of writing I always end up turning it into a novel. I figure if it's worth writing, it's worth a novel. Oddly enough, I enjoy reading short stories. My brain just isn't wired to write them. Why worry you wonder? Contests are a great way to get your name out there and get a few publishing credits under your pen.
If you can or do write short stories you should look into contests as a potential way to start to build your writer's platform. Of course the catch is, for it to help your platform, you have to win or be a finalist. The competition can be pretty tough but the rewards are worth it. Notoriety in the publishing world is hard to come by and contests are a great way to do it.
Here are a few good contests that I've heard about (click on the names for the links):
Writer's Digest Short Story Competition
L. Ron Hubbard's Writers Of the Future
So tell me, do you do contests? Know of any great one's?