Every year, I require my students to enter writing contests. Mine have entered three so far this year. In every contest, I’ll have at least one or two students who will win money and receive recognition for their writing ability. This year, the’ve entered a writing contest sponsored by Coca-Cola, by Wellspring (a community-family organization), Northeast Louisiana’s Young Author Contest. I have at least three more ahead of us. I require them to enter every category: nonfiction (essay) fiction, and poetry. Sometimes they really surprise me, and I’ve found that placing in a contest inspires them to focus on their writing even more.
One upcoming contest allows flash-fiction (short-short) entries. I found this page on the Net that will help you as a teacher to teach them this technique. Go here: http://www.fictionfactor.com/guests/flashfiction.html
In addition to raising their confidence, administrators and parents seem impressed at the students’ sucesses as well. Winning contests also looks good on a student’s resume and college application. Maybe these contests will help make the brutal work of writing more enjoyable to my young scholars.