I recently picked up Louise Doughty’s book, A Novel in a Year: from First Page to Last in 52 Weeks : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3649184/A-novel-in-a-year.html
In the introduction, she wrote that she got her start by entering a literary competition.
There are two competitions I want to bring to your attention. Winning them would be like winning scholarships.
1. Life Lessons Essay contest--$3,000 prize
The magazine, REAL SIMPLE, has a yearly Essay Contest.
The top prize is $3,000, essay published in REAL SIMPLE, round-trip tickets for two to New York City, and more.
The deadline is Sept. 7, 2009, and there is no entry fee.
Details here: http://www.realsimple.com/lifelessonscontest
2. NSAI Song Contest presented by CMT
The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) sponsors this songwriting competition.
Whoever wins the Grand Prize will get a 90 minute mentoring session with Jewel, your song pitched to music industry executives, and a three-day trip to Nashville.
There are more prizes and possibilities.
Details here: http://www.cmt.com/asm/contests/nsai/2009/
Read all official rules.
The entry cost is $35 per song for NSAI members and $45 per song for all non-NSAI members.
Deadline to submit your song is October 31, 2009.