10 Websites For Finding Writing Contests

by Alicia Sparks on February 17, 2011


They're just cooler.

Are you ready to enter some writing contests and create time for creative writing?

Maybe just one? Yes?

Great 🙂

It’s not difficult to find short story and poetry contests (a quick Google brings up more than four million results!), but hashing through them all and finding the right ones for you can be the tricky part.

Because we don’t always have that kind of time (ahem), regularly checking certain websites and signing up for newsletters or other e-mail updates might be the best options.

To get you started, I’ve created the following list of 10 websites that can help you find writing contests for short stories and poetry. Some of these sites post contests, and others hold their own contests. A few of them even provide information about current screenwriting contests and journalism competitions.

Keep in mind these contests cover a wide variety of genres and publications. If you don’t immediately find one that interests you, keep looking.

  1. Writer’s Digest: Competitions
  2. Gotham Writers’ Workshop: Contests
  3. Freelance Writing: Writing Contests
  4. Poets & Writers: Creative Writing Contests & Competitions
  5. About.com: Freelance Writing
  6. About.com: Fiction Writing
  7. WritersWeekly: Quarterly 24-Hour Short Story Contest
  8. firstwriter Poetry/Fiction Contests
  9. Freelance Writing Jobs: Writing Contests
  10. Winning Writers (Free newsletter or paid access to a database of poetry contests.)

REMEMBER: Always be cautious and do a little research before entering a writing contest – especially one that charges an entry fee. Entry fees aren’t bad things, necessarily, but you don’t want to lose money just as you don’t want to have your writing ripped off by a scam contest. For tips on weeding out the scam contests, check out Moira Allen’s Writing Contests: When Winners Are Losers. Be sure to scroll down for her list of scam-busting sites, too.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

J.T Dabbagian February 18, 2011 at 4:29 pm

This is a great post. Just remember, however, that what Alicia says about scams rings true: You need to check out the contest and the people sponsoring it. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Despite it happening four years ago, memories of Ashwin Khanna and his $2000 linkback scam contest still linger.

Taylor August 22, 2011 at 7:25 am

I was doing my web surfing for writing contests and came across your site.

Your right in that it takes considerable time to sift through all the stuff on the web in order to find the contests that are truly of any value.

Great to come to a site with a highly useful list for a change.

Thanks for posting

Patricia February 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm

You have such a great selection of contests. It usually takes me forever to find the right ones. Thanks for sharing.

Robin Smith September 13, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Great post, very useful!

Also keep in mind that sometimes you can find writing contest that are very specific to a goal… I won entry and $1000 , to the Dice.com book on IT job market with an article on women in the desktop support/ computer field. More recently I won a scholarship for 2/3 of the cost to their 5th anniversary women’s conference, RISE 2013, by taking time and care infilling out the application online (Value was $1500 off the cost of the conference ticket!). Keep your eye out for “contests” or challenges such as these, where the scope of the work is manageable, the time frame short and the completion pretty limited in numbers.

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