These seems like a lot of subjects. It isn't. It's the same subject. And it goes like this:
Donald Maass' High Tension Workshop was for novel writing. That doesn't matter. Why? Because it translates to all kinds of writing.
It's useful to switch formats. Trying something new and different can increase your ability in your regular writing. It's a challenge. It's also a way to re-energize your regular writing.
Writing for good contests (real prizes/awards, no entry or low entry fee, with a reputable publisher/group) can be another way to challenge and stimulate your writing.
If you pick a good contest to submit to and win a prize, this can help the marketing of your other work. And sometimes your other endeavors.
Which all brings me to a touch of BSP: I entered Tokyopop's "The Dreaming Writing Competition" and won First Prize! This is useful for a couple of reasons. First, my new w.i.p. is for YA Fantasy and writing a Manga style short story is related. Second, I'm teaching a class at the True North Creative Learning Center in August about--you guessed it--writing manga. Again for the YA market. Plus, I get cool artwork!
So readers, what do you think? About switching formats? About contests, pro or con?