blogs ago I wrote about the importance of awards. They help writers gain credibility. Achieving a win or a commendation in a competition for writers can be worthwhile validation towards publication in book form. It doesn't have to be the Pulitzer or the Man Booker: all prizes add value and credibility to your experience.
I spoke about how a stack (no matter how little) of awards shows prospective agents and publishers that you have jumped through a number of hoops, and that you know how to go about certain processes. That you have gained visibility and readership. That your resume means something real.
These processes are: working to deadlines; writing accurately within a theme; facing stiff competition; understanding the importance of high quality writing; following submission guidelines, and so forth. A writer who shows familiarity with these aspects is streets ahead of someone who does not know the ropes.
A string of achievements is a track record, one that shows a publisher or agent where you have been and how much experience is under your belt. You have also proved you are better than some others.
Some respondents to my blog asked me to compile a list of awards: it is below. You can return to this blog time and again to click on the links that take you to guidelines you can follow to start building your award track record. Good luck!
Writer's Digest Competitions
WordPress Contest Page
Google Writers' Resources
Proof Positive Contest Page
Canadian Authors Markets and Sources
Fellowship of Australian Writers Competition Page
Australian Association of Writing Programs
Competitions Around the World