5 Writing Contests That Will Motivate You

Michael Green
Apr 26
5 min
read

If sometimes you find it difficult to have the motivation or discipline to dedicate time to your craft, writing contests are a great way to push yourself to write. Not only are the cash prizes welcomed, but the deadline gives you something to work towards, some contests feature feedback from experienced authors, and, in some cases, you may have your story published by renowned institutions.

Here are 5 writing contests that may be perfect for you:

1. Reedsy Writing Contest

If you are a beginner, or you simply want to exercise your writing muscle, Reedsy has a new writing contest every week. You can choose a writing prompt related to the topic of the week and participate to win a prize of $250. All contests have a $5 entry fee.

2. Bristol Short Story Prize

For our short story writers, the Bristol Short Story Prize is an annual international writing competition open to published and unpublished writers, with no geographical restrictions. You can submit stories of any theme or subject and are welcome in any style or genre, as long as they don’t exceed a 4,000-word count. 

The closing date for submissions is May 4th, 2022, and there will be a total of 20 winners, who will be published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 15, in addition to the cash prizes: £1,000 for 1st place, £500 for 2nd place, £250 for 3rd place and £100 for the remaining 17 shortlisted writers. The entry fee is £9.00 ($12.50), but there are also 250 free online entries available to those for whom the entry fee is a barrier to submitting.

3. Novel's First Chapter Fiction Factory Contest

If you have already completed the first chapter of your novel and are ready to pass it on to experts to get professional feedback, the Novel’s First Chapter Fiction Factory Contest is your chance.

Shortlisted stories will get an appraisal from experts, and the big winner will get a £500 prize, in addition to getting their entry read by agent Joanna Swainson of the Hardman & Swainson Agency, who is looking for original, complex, larger than life characters (if you want to know more about outlining and creating great characters, check out our article How to outline a Character). The closing date for this contest submissions is May 31, and the entry fee is $25.00

4. Tom Howard/ John H. Reid Fiction and Essay Contest

The Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction and Essay Contest, by Winning Writers, give two prizes of $3,000 each, two-year gift certificates for membership to the literary database Duotrope, and publication on the Winning Writers website for a short story and an essay every year. 10 Honorable Mentions will receive $200 each.

You can participate with any short work of fiction or essay. All themes are accepted, and entries may be published or unpublished, as long as they are up to 6,000 words. The entry fee is $20 and you can submit your work until April 30.

5. L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest

For Sci-Fi and Fantasy lovers, the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest is an opportunity for new writers of science fiction and fantasy to have their work judged by some of the best in the field and discovered by a wide audience.

The Contest is open to non-professionally published writers, and to be eligible, entries must be works of prose, up to 17,000 words. 1st place gets $1,000, 2nd place gets $750, and 3rd place gets $500.

In addition, at the end of the year, the First Place winners will have their entries judged by a panel of judges, and a Grand Prize winner shall be determined and receive an additional $5,000.

The world is waiting to read your stories. What are you waiting for? 

Don’t forget that Lynit is your perfect ally to outline any kind of story. Create Story Elements and Connect them to visualize your story’s structure.

Michael Green is the Founder of Lynit. He started the company unofficially back in 2018 when he was deep in the trenches of editing his first book. He had 500 pages, a lot of characters, multiple plots, and many notes on possible changes. To make sense of everything, he created the first version of the tool. Then he realized that other writers might find value in it too and decided to share. Find out more at www.lynit.app.