Yours for FREE

My top-notch book, "Your Right To Write"

  • FREE tips on writing, blogging, publishing and essay competitions
  • Exclusive offers and inspiration delivered directly to your inbox
Just enter your email now and I'll send the Book to you... for FREE.

4 Incredibly Silly Ways To Lose Your Essay Prize

4 Incredibly Silly Ways To Lose Your Essay Prize

Written by: Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin*

Many people think that the submission of a well-written, quality essay entry which merit outweighs those of other contestants is invariably sufficient to guarantee a prize for them. No! It isn’t. There are more pragmatic, cautious and extremely simple things to put in place if you must deserve the fruits from your formidable essay entry.

In other words, a negligent or deliberate omission to take some precautions and exhibit some professional traits required in this job of writing to win would see the master essay-crafter build a mansion of glass and inadvertently fire a gun shot at it.  How? Read on…you’ll see my point.

Learn how not to be like this…

I’ve seen many essay entrants lament that information reached them that they were announced the prize winners at one essay contest or the other, days or weeks after the award ceremonies. They would indignantly add that the organizers were malicious or negligent not to have invited them to such award ceremonies. I asked one a time ago if he had checked his email inbox in the last three days. “I’m…I haven’t o!” he lamely cried. You see?

Some very ‘effective’ ways to lose an essay prize – or even a job, scholarship, etc. – and end up looking dumb are shown below.

1. Omitting To Check Your Email At Least Daily

The case of the writer I cited above isn’t isolated. Many essay writers often commit such unpardonable blunder. Many essay organizers would normally give at least a week interval between the announcement of winners and the award ceremony. But the unthinkable also happens. I once received email notification of the winners in an essay contest just a day before the award ceremony. I think that’s grossly unprofessional, but can you help it, with the organizer being the boss? Being meticulous as to check your email daily isn’t a herculean task, is it?

I recall being requested via email to send a cover page for my CIPM essay entry which I had submitted about three weeks earlier. The original announcement did not request it, but when the email request came, albeit unexpectedly, I quickly hit the reply button and provided it. What if I didn’t check my email for a week then? How many entrants would have possibly got disqualified because they never get to read the email and so did not respond?

 2. Losing Your Main Phone Line And Not Retrieving It Swiftly

Some essay contest organizers choose to notify the winners by phone calls or text messages. If you’ve lost the phone line you submitted in your bio-data, no amount of luck would redirect the text message or call to your new line. If you’d be careful, you’d retrieve your dominant phone line as soon as practicable after losing it.

 3. Activating Email Notification For Your Facebook Account

The last thing I would advise a person do with Facebook is to activate email notification for each and every thing that happens on Facebook. If you extend the notification to group activities, posts by friends, comments, tagging and whatnot, you can receive an incredible 200 emails – and even many times more – from Facebook on daily basis. Even if the notification is limited to comments on your posts, a small evil is still an evil. So, do away with it.

The same applies to those annoying essay announcements, scholarships, quotes and Google alert you subscribed to. The simple rule of thumb is, if a notifier forms the habit of sending you emails more than once a day, you could do him the favour of unsubscribing from his list. If you must retain such notifications, then dedicate a different email account to them.

That way, you’ll stay up to date on important updates and never miss reading any crucial email you receive.

 4. Neglecting To Note The Medium By Which The Essay Winners Would Be Announced

Many essay organizers notify winners by email – by far the best route for such communications, I think. Some adopt the less popular medium of text message or phone call. Still, a tiny fraction of them take the road least travelled by – announcing winners only on their website, journal, newspaper or magazine. Amateurish, you may say, but some organizers haven’t grown past it.

So, if the essay contest advert indicates winners would only be announced through such means on a specific date – of course they should state the date in this case – then a prudent entrant would mark the date in his diary.

So What If I Miss The Award Ceremony?

Do you now see how you can throw away a hard-earned award? If you ‘successfully’ do any of the above and miss attendance at the occasion on which you should be rewarded, you may be fortunate the organizers reserve your prize. If they don’t – and this cannot be ruled out – you can’t complain of an injury you aided. Even if your prize is reserved, you’d have missed the ovations, accolades and self fulfillment characteristic of that magical moment of being unveiled the last man standing…the knight who stood out while others merely stood and who lasted among the pack of those who also started.

I’m sure you won’t thank yourself if you fall into this pitfall. So, when you’ve submitted your compelling entry, stay updated, remain meticulous and act professionally.

Have you missed an essay prize for any of these reasons or do you know any such pitfall to avoid? Let us know in the comment section.


Would you like to receive regular essay contest announcements and helpful, practical writing tips from Naija Writers’ Coach all for FREE? It’s as simple as ABC. Simply subscribe to our newsletter with your best setup banner

About Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

Writer. Difference Maker. Entrepreneur. Author, Your Right To Write & Vertical Writing. Winner, 11 Writing Prizes.


  1. johnpaulnnamdi says:

    All said and well said. Well done!

Speak Your Mind