I think it's safe to say I won't be making the RWA Golden Heart deadline this year. I've got 36k words of a 65k word manuscript, and while I'd love to hurry up and register my place in the contest, there's this itty-bitty section that makes you promise the manuscript is complete. I. JUST. CAN'T. DO IT.
So here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna say that I have faith in my current WIP. That after it's spanked by my critique partners, after it's trimmed by the shaking scissors of self-editing, after it's shining so brightly I can use it to find my way to the bathroom at night: I have faith it will earn me an agent. Who will then win over a publishing editor. Who will offer me enough money that I can buy myself a flashlight instead of re-breaking the same toe on the corner of the door while I shuffle my way to the 2 am meeting.
So my question to you is: Have you or anyone you know ever landed an agent/publishing contract from entering a contest? And how often do you participate in writing contests, and what are your likes and dislikes about them? (No need to name specific ones, generalizing will do).