eeee....I don't know if I should blog today or not! Why? Because I have only entered one contest...if I remember correctly. *sheepish grin* So I don't know if I'm the right person to say aye or nay!
Firstly, why haven't I entered more than one contest? Basically, because I never seem to have time. I'm always on deadline for my books and chasing my tail trying to get things done, so sitting and writing specifically for a contest pushes me over the line LOL.
But I do think contests are great - it's a way of getting noticed, and maybe rubbing noses with 'the stars', as they say! Imagine writing a short story in a contest and winning and having your short story included in an anthology with such writers as...oh, let me see...Lynsay Sands, Shiloh Walker, Kim Harrison, Lori Foster - anyone of those and more wonderful writers so well known. A contest such as this might kick start that writing career we've been chasing for so long.
I also think contests are a good way for beginners to learn, to take criticism in the spirit it's meant (constructive), and to give them experience in approaching writing and all it entails.
For established writers, it could get you noticed by agents, publishers and the big market.
So yeah, I do think contests are a good thing. But also, I do believe it's personal, an individual choice for every writer, whether published or not. So whatever you do - have fun!