Writing Contests and How to Win Them

The secret to winning such contests is first to write something simply smashing and new. If you manage that very lofty order, then the only other thing you need to do is research your options about which contests best fit what you have written.

A writing contest is a written competition between the works of authors to determine which piece of writing is most worthy of winning a prize or other type of recognition.

Nearly every sort of writing contest that writers could imagine probably already exists and is either underway, just beginning, or finalizing.  A Google search for “writing contests” provides nearly one and a half million results. Here are a few.

Writing Contests, Grants & Awards | Poets & Writers


The Writing Contests, Grants & Awards database includes details about the creative writing contests—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, and more—that we’ve published in Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year.

Writing Contest · ‎Travel Writing Contest · ‎Fiction Contest · ‎Writing Awards

Writing Contests in 2018: A Curated List of Paid & Free Competitions


Search for writing contests in your genre. Discover the finest writing contests of 2018 for fiction and non-fiction authors of short stories, poetry, essays and more. … Writing Prompts Inspired Short StoryContest.

31 Free Writing Contests: Legitimate Competitions With Cash Prizes

31 Free Writing Contests: Legitimate Competitions With Cash Prizes

Mar 21, 2017 – Don’t be taken in by scammy contests: there are legitimate competitions for your prose and poetry. Here are some free writing contests to get started.

Competitions | WritersDigest.com – Writer’s Digest


Writer’s Digest hosts the Annual Writing Competition. This competition spotlights writing in many categories including poetry, scripts, memoirs and genre fiction. There are 9 categories to choose from.This is your chance to win $5,000 in cash, a spotlight about you in an upcoming issue, and a paid trip to our ever-popular …

Writing Contests – The Writer


Your ultimate guide to the best writing contests happening right now. If you’re looking for fiction, poetry, essay, or genre contests, you’ll find it here.

Writing Contests – Enter or Submit Writing Contests – Earn Prizes!


Enter writing prizes to earn money, or submit your own contest here. The most visited contest page on the web — publicize your contest and get submissions.

Here are some other searches related to “writing contests 2018,” which you may click on to review the searches.

writing contests 2018 no entry fee

writing contests for high school students

writing contests for kids

poetry contests 2018

novel writing contests

photography contests

free fiction writing contests 2018

Winnowing the Search Results

Writers who want to find a contest need to run their own search or searches and then save them.  A thorough review of the first few pages of search results will allow writers to find the contests that are good fits for their writing and as such easier to win. Don’t slack on this part of your research. Finding a good fit in a contest is as important to winning as the good writing you plan to enter.

How to Pick the Right Contest for Your Writing

First, writers should focus their attention closely to contests for writing in their own genre or genres because it is a bad idea to give the judges an extra reason not to choose their manuscripts.  It is easy to get overly ambitious in view of the many opportunities out there for writers, but less is more regarding contest entry.

To Pay or Not to Pay

This writer doesn’t ever pay entry fees to enter contests because there are far too many free contests out there.  Additionally, writers who win can expect about the same payoff for a free contest as for a contest that charges writers an entry fee.

In terms of prestige rather than profit, winning an arts fellowship or residency is more valuable than a prize from a contest that people had to pay to enter.  As a rule, and of course, rules are just guides and generally have many exceptions, if you are asked to pay to enter, then winning won’t be as valid or impressive as if you had not paid an entry fee.

That said, each writer should decide for him/herself what kind of contests to enter.  Changes in attitudes in the measurement of success and opportunities created by the internet have created many more opportunities for writers.

The secret to winning such contests is first to write something simply smashing and new. If you manage that very lofty order, then the only other thing you need to do is research your options about which contests best fit what you have written.

A Romance, no matter how smashing, will never win a contest for Westerns. Good writing combines and crosses genres with every breath it takes, but keep it simple for contests.

How to Sponsor Your Own Writing Contest

Why not create your own contest? Freelancewriting.com offers to publicize your writing contest on its website.  You could also advertise your contest with posters or emails. Here is a quick 3-step guide to sponsoring your own writing contest.

  1. Write some guidelines for your contest wherein you announce what type of writing you want and by whom. Is it your 3rd grade class only or all 3rd graders at your school? Do you want only short stories or will you accept graphic novellas too? When is the contest deadline? Selecting these details will help you visualize the rest of your contest narrative.
  2. Determine a space to which the entries will be submitted. Ask a colleague to help you judge the entries. Determine what prizes will be awarded, where, by whom, and how many. What will your awards’ ceremony look like? How will you announce the winners?
  3. Don’t miss this opportunity to make your contest a yearly event. Don’t neglect obvious fundraising opportunities, such as collecting some of the submissions into a hard copy and offer it for sale. If Ms. English’s 3rd grade writes a book, imagine how many copies of it the parents would want to buy? How many could you sell if you included all the kids in your elementary school? How much help and support might you get from parents and colleagues for next year’s contest? You see why contests are so ever popular.

Featured image thanks tokate-ilina-on Unplash.  

As always, it is a pleasure to write for you.