Writing contests. You see them advertised everywhere. And they can sound so promising.
The trouble is, many, if not most of them, charge fees to participate. And those fees sure can add up fast.
But there are lots of "no-cost" competitions--awarding cash, publication, residencies, and conference attendance, among other plums--for writers in every genre. They don't charge fees. The Winter 2006 edition of The Practicing Writer's Guide to No-Cost Literary Contests and Competitions profiles 221 such opportunities. And the complimentary preview includes several sample listings. Check out this great resource for your writing practice today (it's updated semiannually to remove "dead" programs and revise links as needed while adding new opportunities).