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Free Online Writing Contests For Poets and Writers

WHERE ARE YOU IN YOUR WRITING CAREER?

How are you feeling about your writing career at this stage in life? Maybe you are writing online for a site like HubPages, and you are feeling pretty good about yourself. Maybe you are even a big fish in that little pond, but you sense that there is a large world out there with millions of creative writers, many of whom are big fish in little ponds. Maybe, just maybe, it is time to venture into a little larger pond and find out just how big of a fish you are.

If this is the case, and you really feel it is time to test yourself against stiff competition, then maybe the time has come to enter some writing contests. Perhaps you have been thinking about it but as of yet you haven’t worked up the courage to do so. That is perfectly natural, but consider for a second that nobody needs to know whether you succeeded or failed. Entering a writing contest gives you a chance to branch out and possibly improve your craft. How are you ever going to know just how good you are until you have taken a few risks and put your work out there for public scrutiny?

There are many essay contests, poetry writing contests and short story writing contests available for free; there are also many available for a nominal entrance fee. The ones listed below are just a few of the many available should you decide to take your craft to the next level. Browse among them and maybe you will find one that calls your name. Who knows, this might just be the start of something big for your career.

free-online-writing-contests-for-poets-and-writers

SITES AVAILABLE WITH MULTIPLE CONTESTS LISTED

Winning Writes

This site is a mixture of writing and poetry contests, some of which are free. Make sure you check the deadlines and submission requirements.

Once Written.com

A compilation of individual contest sites and sites that have multiple contests listed.

FanStory.com

One of my favorite sites. They conduct their own monthly contests, and most are centered around writing prompts that this site gives you. It is easy to navigate and is broken down into separate sections based on future months.

Freelance Writing .com

This is another of my go-to sites when I’m in a contest mood. This is also one of the most highly-recognized sites which means, of course, that the competition is stiff.

Manuscript Editing.com

This site is the best that I have found. It has a huge database of contests available, and I do mean huge. If you can’t find a contest on this site then you weren’t meant to enter a contest.

FictionWriting.about.com

This site is just for short story contests. It is sectioned according to months of due dates and is quite easy to follow and understand.

Writers Digest.com

This is one of the best known and highly-regarded sites for contests. There are several categories for different genres and the prizes are often quite good.

Newpages.com

These guys not only have their own contests but also give a comprehensive guide to other contests available. Very good resource!

Writers-editors.com

Primarily this is for short stories and unpublished books, fiction and non-fiction.

Youngvoicesfoundation.org

This is a site for young writers. In addition to listing contests, it is also a guiding light for any young writer with articles about writing, ideas for furthering careers and other helpful tips.

Some thoughts to think about

THAT SHOULD GET YOU STARTED

All told, the sites listed above will put you in touch with literally hundreds of contests. All that remains is for you to decide to enter and then find the contest that fits you the best.

What do you have to lose? Winning a contest will not only give you a monetary reward but might also open doors for you that previously were closed or unheard of. Even if you don’t win, the experience will be invaluable as you move forward in your writing career.

Good luck to all of you!

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 13, 2013:

Silent, I will remember to thank Eddy for the assistance. If you end up like Nemo then I think you'll have a great article to write. :) Thanks for finding me.

SilentReed from Philippines on August 13, 2013:

I found this hub in a roundabout way through Eddy Jones' Pinterest. Your article have perk my interest to venture from my little pond into the wide blue yonder of the writing world. Will I end up like Nemo, the clown fish?:) Thank you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 17, 2013:

Vicki, it is my pleasure. If this helps you then fantastic.

Vickiw on February 17, 2013:

Thanks so much for this Bill. I will read this thoroughly and see what happens. You are so kind and generous, and it is much appreciated

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2013:

Glimmer, I hope you do. LIke you said, it is a great way to improve our writing skills. Thank you as always my friend.

Claudia Mitchell on February 12, 2013:

Who knew there were all of these sites out there. I imagine contests are a great way to hone writing skills. Thanks for this hub. I'm going to have to check out some of these sites.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 11, 2013:

Genna, you are very welcome, and thank you for stopping by. I drag my feet about entering contests and I'm not sure why. I do it but I never really feel comfortable about it. I hope you give it a try and it is rewarding for you.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on February 11, 2013:

Thanks, Billy, for this info…it is well researched and quite informative. I’ve never entered a contest before, but think I might give it a try.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 11, 2013:

LOL....thank you Phoenix! Maybe a glass of wine while you read. :)

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on February 11, 2013:

I am. I'm reading your hubs.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 11, 2013:

Phoenix, you go girl!!!!! I love it when we can stick their faces in it. Hooray for you; thank you for letting me know, and now go out and enjoy the heck out of your afternoon.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on February 11, 2013:

Hi, Bill. Just came back from my 'disciplinary hearing'. I had a great time!:) The boss...not so much.

I wish you had been a fly on that wall; you would've loved the look on his face when I pulled out all my documentation to support my case and all he had was a couple of letters from HR. Ahhh...good times, good times.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 10, 2013:

Maria.....awwww....thank you dear lady. I hope this finds you healthy and happy.

love,

bill

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on February 10, 2013:

This is a valuable keeper, like you, Bill...Thank you so much.

Voted UP and UABI. Have a peaceful day. Love, Maria

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 09, 2013:

thecoffeewrite, I'm excited for you. Good luck with the contests and I'm very happy that this list is helpful. Thank you for the visit.

Keneesha M Hodge from Chicago, Illinois on February 09, 2013:

I have a lot to look forward to. I've decided this year I will put my writing skill to the test by actually entering contests to see where that takes me. I'm very excited now that I don't have to do my own search. Thanks for this.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 09, 2013:

Sha, if one is lucky enough to win one of these contests, the rewards are great, and it looks great on a resume. As always, thank you.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on February 09, 2013:

Thanx for the info, Bill. I have been looking into contests of late because not only do they offer cash prizes, but publication as a result of the win. I am saving this one for sure!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 09, 2013:

Suzie, you never know for sure and really, where is the harm in trying? Thank you my friend and have a wonderful weekend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 09, 2013:

Phoenix, give them hell at the Monday meeting. :) I'd love to be a fly on the wall during that discussion. Good luck, and good luck to your daughter too; I hope she finds joy in this profession.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on February 09, 2013:

Hi Bill,

Great idea to put this together and I must check some of your fav's out!!

entered an essay comp when I was 8 or so and won so you never know, it may still come back, the luck!! Great job!

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on February 09, 2013:

Thanks, Bill. As my boss, my Union rep and I are going to have it out on Monday, I may really have to hit the keyboard in order to replace my paycheque.

I'm going to tell my daughter about the young writer's website. If she's serious about being a writer then she needs to start getting her stuff out there and honing her skills.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

lovebuglena, you are right. Submission guidelines have to be read and followed. Thank you!

Lena Kovadlo from Staten Island, NY on February 08, 2013:

Sometimes when a piece of writing is published online on a website it is also considered a published work. You have to check with the rules of the contest...to see what they consider a published work.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

Deb, the contests are usually for previously unpublished work, but my understanding is that HP does not count as being published.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on February 08, 2013:

Billy, am I allowed to submit something that I published on hubpages?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

You are welcome, Ruby! Thank you and have a great weekend.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on February 08, 2013:

Thank's for sharing Bill...

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

xstatic, that's good to know. I'll have to check out Washington and see what they have offered. Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

Lupita, I am happy that you can use this. Thank you so much!

Jim Higgins from Eugene, Oregon on February 08, 2013:

Thanks, Bill. I have used Winningwriters.com, but have not found most of the others yet. For poetry writers, each state has a poetry association which usually has annual or semi-annual conferences and contests open to people from anywwhere, not just poets or members from that state.

LupitaRonquillo on February 08, 2013:

I am bookmarking this hub naming it as your title, very resourceful hub Billy!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

Shampa, I am glad you like it. Thank you!

Shampa Sadhya from NEW DELHI, INDIA on February 08, 2013:

Voted up and useful!

It is a very useful and informative hub. Quite helpful indeed! Sharing and pinning!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

lovebuglena, thank you for stopping by and your kind words.

Lena Kovadlo from Staten Island, NY on February 08, 2013:

A useful and informative hub you've got there. Thank you for sharing. I am sure many writers will find this handy.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

Alicia, I'm glad you enjoyed it and I hope it helps you enter some contests. Good luck and have a great weekend.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 08, 2013:

Thank you very much for the useful list, Bill. I've saved your hub and will gradually go through all the sites that you mention.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

Rajan, my pleasure. I hope you get the chance to enter some contest. Have a great weekend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

Thank you Myz! I hope they are helpful to you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

Made, I hope you have a great spring break, even though you will be freezing. I will tell Bev you said hello, and have a wonderful weekend.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 08, 2013:

Really Bill, I had no idea there were sites holding writing contests. Really interesting to learn about them. Thanks for adding to my knowledge.

Life Under Construction from Neverland on February 08, 2013:

Wonderful hub!! will check some of these sites you've mentioned sir bill.

Madeleine Salin from Finland on February 08, 2013:

Thank you! I'm going to work all weekend, work all next week and work some more the week after that, but it's nice to be working, too. :) After that my children and me are having spring break for nine days.

Enjoy your weekend, Bill and say hello to Bev from me! :) I'm sending you warm hugs from a freezing Finland.

Madeleine

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

Made, I can understand the language problem. Best of luck with the Swedish short story competition. Have a wonderful weekend my dear friend.

Madeleine Salin from Finland on February 08, 2013:

Thank you for sharing these sites, Bill. I doubt that my English is good enough for a writing competition. I'll start with entering the Swedish short story competition here in Finland and see how it goes ... Then I'll check out the sites above. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

Vinaya, who knows when our big moment will come. We just have to keep working at our craft. Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

Gypsy, thank you and I hope you can find something in this to help you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

DDE, I hope it is helpful to you. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

Graham, just giving back that which was freely given to me. I appreciate your kind works and have a great weekend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

jainismus, thank you Sir, and I hope it is helpful to you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

Ratihegde, I hope you do, and thank you for the visit.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

Martin, I understand. Thank you for reading anyway.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2013:

dghbrh, thank you for the visit and I hope you can use this list to help your career.

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on February 08, 2013:

Billy,

I have been entering free writing contests ever since I began writing for the web. However, I have not found any luck. I will have to book this hub and check the sites you have reviewed here.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on February 08, 2013:

Voted up and interesting. Thanks Bill for this informative hub. Will bookmark and passing this on.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 08, 2013:

You have an helpful lot of information here, these writing sites sound promising.

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on February 08, 2013:

Thank you Bill. What a mine of information you have given us. Another great effort to help and assist others along the road.

Voted up and all.

Graham.

Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on February 08, 2013:

Thank you Bill for sharing this great information, it is very useful for writers and poets. I am sharing it with my followers.

Rati Hegde from Mumbai, India on February 08, 2013:

very informative ... will try submitting my entries at least once :)

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on February 08, 2013:

Thank you for this. Unfortunately I must make more cutbacks.

deergha from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!! on February 07, 2013:

Nice and very informative hub. One of a kind in the way to inspire writers to take up the challenge of writing in a more profound way. Many thanks for sharing this one. Votes up interesting and useful, sharing also.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Hey Vicki, good to see you again. I'm glad you liked the list and thanks for dropping by.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on February 07, 2013:

What a lot of resources! Thanks for compiling this. I'm saving it for future reference. Thanks, Bill!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Thank you Denise! I hope it helps someone like it has me.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on February 07, 2013:

Wonderful hub encouraging others to write for other venues as well. Nice list here. Thanks for sharing, Bill UP/U/I and sharing.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

I'm glad if this helped, Arun! Thank you for the visit.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE from KOLKATA on February 07, 2013:

As a one joining Hubpages only recently I find such list of opportunities so easily! Thank you very much and wish you all the best.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Lee, you are welcome and thank you for stopping by. I need a nudge just like everyone else does.

Lee Tea from Erie, PA on February 07, 2013:

Inspiring idea and easy to use information - thanks for offering us a tool to use for promoting our creations, and for effectively nudging us all in the right direction. Much appreciated!

Be well - Lee @ Lee's Teas

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Gina, I certainly understand that; there is a lot of competition out there for sure. Thank you for the visit.

Gina145 from South Africa on February 07, 2013:

I'll have to have a look at some of those sites. I used to enter competitions a long time ago, but through lack of results I lost motivation.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

You are welcome, Jackie! I hope you find them useful. Thank you!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on February 07, 2013:

I will coming back often checking on these places, thanks so much!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Hey Bill, you are very welcome. I hope this leads to fame and fortune for you. :)

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on February 07, 2013:

Hi Bill. I'm not sure why but it never occurred to me to enter a contest. I didn't even know they existed out there? Thanks for sharing this with us. I will check out a few of these sites. As you said, we have nothing to lose. many thanks my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Audrey, you are very welcome. Thank you as well.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

You are very welcome, Pamela! I hope you enjoy the challenge.

Audrey Howitt from California on February 07, 2013:

Wow--this is a great resource--thank you!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 07, 2013:

This is a great list of opportunities to write with a challenge. I do freelance writing but I haven't looked at contests before. Thank you for this great information.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Thank you Mary! I had to leave my comfort level with Bev pushing and shoving me all the way. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

I hope you can use it, Jo! Glad you like it and thank you as always.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

My pleasure, Rosemay! Thank you once again for stopping by.

Mary Craig from New York on February 07, 2013:

It might just be time for me to try one of these. You've shared some great sites and the little nudge is a good thing too. I would love to follow in your footsteps but to date HP has been my only outlet.

I'm bookmarking this hub and coming back to try some of those sites. Thank you.

Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and shared so that more HP writers can learn about these sites.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on February 07, 2013:

Billy, this is fabulous, great resource, and I'll be saving for later and sharing.

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on February 07, 2013:

Thank you for this Bill, useful info and I might just take a peak at some of them.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Ruchira, I almost included my contest in this list as a joke and then decided to play it straight. :) Sha won the contest...bravewarrior on HP.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Doc, in your spare time you should enter some contests. :) You have lots of free time, right? LOL I try to enter one per month but that plan often falls by the wayside because of other priorities.

Have I said thank you lately? Well thank you my friend.

Ruchira from United States on February 07, 2013:

wow..and I thought hubpages and Bill's writing contest was it.

Thanks for the well researched hub. I will bookmark some of these and try to enter.

btw, who was the winner of your book in jan :)

lovedoctor926 on February 07, 2013:

Thank you for this gem Billy. I have bookmarked this page and will check it out.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Oh, Jaye, thank you! I just try to give back. I'm so appreciative of the help I received when I was starting out on HP.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Linda, we are a convenience society are we not? This just adds to the convenience. Thanks for dropping by and Happy Birthday!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Janine, you, spread thin???? LOL Thanks as always my dear.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on February 07, 2013:

Thanks so much for the list, links and additional information about these writing contest resources, Bill. You're such a generous person and greatly appreciated by your HP friends!

Voted Up++ and shared

Jaye

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on February 07, 2013:

Very useful Bill! Thank you for the one-stop shopping for contests! :)

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on February 07, 2013:

Thanks for sharing and if I had more time would totally look into a few. Just a bit spread thin right now, but great resource Bill!!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Kelly, I'll race you to that professional status. LOL Ten years from now hopefully one of us will have made it. Thank you kind lady and congratulations on two years at HP.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Maralexa, you are very welcome, and thank you for the visit..

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Lizzie, you are good for my ego, which may not be a good thing come to think of it. LOL Seriously, I really appreciate your kindness. I hope this list helps you in the future. Thank you for your friendship.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2013:

Why not indeed, Carol. LOL I'm glad you like this and I hope it is helpful. Thank you my friend!

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