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Posts tagged ‘writing contests’

Polish your prose and enter a writing contest

Sending your writing out into the world is a good way to get recognition for all your hard work. My blogging partner Carol Despeaux should know. She was notified in December that she’d won 7th place in the Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards. Congratulations Carol! She’ll be receiving $50, recognition in Writer’s Digest magazine and promotion on, and a copy of the 2014 Poet’s Market.

To inspire you, I’ve listed several contests with upcoming deadlines. For information about other contests, check out writing magazines, including Writer’s Digest, The Writer, and Writer’s and Poets.

Ruminate magazine

Award: VanderMey Nonfiction Prize

Deadline: Feb. 15, 2014

Entry Fee: $18


Ruminate’s annual VanderMey Nonfiction Prize winner receives $1,500 and publication in the summer 2014 issues of the magazine. The runner up receives $200 and publication. Submit an essay or short memoir by Feb. 15. Visit the website for guidelines.

Pacific Northwest Writers Association

Award: First and second place is awarded in 12 categories, including children’s, middle grade, nonfiction/memoir, poetry, and various other genres

Deadline: Feb. 21, 2014

Entry Fee: $35 per entry for PNWA members, $50 per entry for non-members.

Website: PNWA Contest

Each entry receives two critiques. Winners are announced at the Summer Conference in front of writers, agents, and editors. First-place winners receive $700 and second-place winners receive $300. For contest rules and submission guidelines, visit the website.

Association of Writers & Writing Programs   

Award: Donald Hall Prize in Poetry, Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction, Novel, Creative Nonfiction

Deadline: Feb. 28, 2014

Entry Fee: $30 ($20 for AWP members)


Two prizes of $5,500 each and publication by a participating press are given annually for a poetry collection and a short story collection. In addition, two prizes of $2,500 each and publication by a participating press are given annually for a novel and a book of creative nonfiction. Submit manuscripts online by Feb. 28. visit the website for guidelines.

Colorado Review

Award: Nelligan Prize (short story)

Deadline: March 14, 2014

Entry Fee: $15


The Colorado Review awards a prize of $2,000 and publication annually for a short story. Current and former students of Colorado State University are not eligible. Submit a story of any length with a $15 entry fee by March 14. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for guidelines.

Energize your writing by entering a contest

Writing is its own reward, but it’s good to submit to contests to see how your work rates. It can give energy and focus to your writing, and if your submission wins, you might catch the eye of an editor or agent.

See the list below for several upcoming contests. For a more detailed list, visit Poets & Writers online.

Flash Fiction
Gemini Magazine
Deadline: August 31, 2013
Entry Fee: $4 ($3 for each additional entry)
Gemini Magazine, Flash Fiction Contest, David Bright, Editor. P.O. Box 1485, Onset, MA 02558. (339) 309-9757,

Gemini Magazine awards a prize of $1,000 and publication annually for a short short story. Submit a story of up to 1,000 words. Call, e-mail, or visit the website for complete instructions. Read more

Four contests to energize your writing life

One good way to inject some energy into your writing is by entering contests. Sending out your work helps create focus and momentum and if you win, cash and publishing credits aren’t bad either.

Here are four contests that came across my e-mail this week. For more, check out Poets & Writers Writing Contests, Grants & Awards page.

The New Letters Literary Awards
Prize: $1,500 each for poetry, fiction and essay
Entry fee: $15
Deadline: May 18, 2013
Contest details Read more

Take Will Smith’s advice and defy the writing enemy

Do you have a piece of writing that you’re afraid to share with the world? You must push beyond the fear, says actor Will Smith.

The ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment, James Lassiter and Will Smith of Overbrook Entertainment are looking for a few talented writers in the America’s Newest Scriptwriter Contest.

“The greatest enemy to doing the things you want to do in this world is fear,” says Will Smith, in a video on the contest website. “The only way to deal with fear is to smash your head against it. Write your work and submit it.”

Smith and film producer James Lassiter, co-founders of Overbrook Entertainment, will judge the contest.

They’ll select two winners — one for a 30-minute comedic script and one for a one-hour dramatic script. Winners will meet with Overbrook Entertainment to discuss opportunities to further develop their scripts. Each winner will receive $5,000. Read more

Submit your best work

“How you do one thing is how you do everything.” I can’t remember who originally said this but I’ve heard it many times.

Learning to write or do any art is like peeling an onion. A concept or craft technique I learned two years ago will continue to unfold and grow to a deeper level in my understanding.

One of many of these moments came to me last weekend at the Surrey Writers Conference. I heard over and over that, as writers, we should only send out our best work.

I know this, of course, but it resonated at a deeper level of understanding for me this weekend. Read more

Submit your best work to contests

I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I’m lazy. Not lazy in a lay around all day way, but lazy in that sometimes, with my writing, I take the “easy” path without really thinking about what might be the “better” path.

Case in point: After winning first place in the memoir category at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference I had an epiphany—I realized that sometimes when I submit my work to a contest I pick a piece that I feel is finished but I don’t always pick a piece that I think can win.

I mean, I hope the piece could win but I don’t really look at it with a critical eye and ask, “Can this piece actually win—really win—this contest?”

It seems sort of obvious—that I’d want to submit a winning piece (keeping in mind that all contests are very subjective). But sometimes I pick what feels complete, even though it might not be 100% ready to be sent out into the world. When I enter a piece in a contest, I want to take it to the highest level. So, instead of one more rewrite, maybe that means five more rewrites.

My goal for the rest of this year is to only send out work I’ve examined with a critical eye and determined that it’s truly ready to be sent out into the world. Maybe it still won’t be chosen, but I’ll know that I’ve given it every advantage I could.

The magic in winning a writing contest

In my earlier post, “How to Use Writing Contests to Reach Your Goals,” I mentioned one of my main goals this year was to enter more writing contests. I haven’t been consistent in entering contests in the past but this year, with the prompting of my blog partner Carly, I wanted to create a new habit.

Each month, I have a goal to enter X number of competitions and/or submit my work to various places. This helps me celebrate the little successes, build my artist resume, and gain some much-needed inspiration and motivation along the way to my larger goals.

This February, I entered the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference Literary Contest and earlier this month found out I was a finalist in two categories:—memoir/nonfiction and poetry. I was thrilled. Jumping up and down. Ecstatic! Read more