Our long-running Annual International Writing Contest was held for 10 years from 2004 to 2014. In 2015, the SWW board of directors voted not to continue the contest. (The contest resumed in 2019.) The following is a note of explanation from past SWW President Rob Spiegel:
The Decision to Eliminate Contests
A Note from Rob Spiegel, past SWW President
For decades, the SouthWest Writers annual contest was one of the leading writer’s contests in the country. The contest provided training wheels for new writers to learn the arcane submission procedures for the publishing world. The contest played an essential role on the path to publication.
Now everything has changed. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of contests available to aspiring writers. The small publishing world has exploded with contests. You can find hundreds listed at Poets and Writers, Writer’s Digest, and FreelanceWriting.com. Many of them offer the one thing SWW is not able to offer—publication.
So, when the 2015 board found that the preliminary work had not been completed for a 2015 annual contest (we begin advertising in the early fall), we decided this may be an opportunity to re-think the contest. With all of the contests on the writing scene, what do we have to offer for all the time and risk involved?
We’re not in a position to move forward with a strong 2015 contest, and maybe that’s fortuitous. The old paradigm for an annual contest has passed. Perhaps a member will approach the board with an idea for a contest that will satisfy unfilled member needs in a way that existing contests don’t. As for now, the risk involved and the army of volunteers required doesn’t make sense.