Writer’s Digest Writing Competition: Be an Early Bird!

I don’t know whether it’s the possibility of awesome prizes, the pressure of a looming deadline, or simply the rush of competition, but nothing lights a fire under my inkwells like a good writing contest. If you feel the same way, you might want to check out the 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. The top prizes are cool (money, exposure to agents/publishers, writing-related discounts, etc.), the entry fees are reasonable, and there are ten different categories to choose from: memoir/personal essay, genre short story, mainstream/literary short story, magazine feature article, rhyming poetry, non-rhyming poetry, stage play, television/movie script, children’s/young adult fiction, and inspirational writing.

Intrigued? Click here for more details on this reputable and long-running contest:


If you decide you might like to enter, the best advice I can offer is to enter something that’s absolutely your best work (duh), and to enter it EARLY. I don’t have a huge amount of contest experience under my belt, but I’ve spoken to a fair share of writers who do (including the winner of the EBONY Writing Contest), and they all strongly emphasize one thing: the earlier you enter, the better. The fees are lower if you enter your manuscript by the early bird deadline (May 6, 2013), and – more importantly – the readers are in a better mood. Now, I’m sure every single reader in every single contest is trying his or her best to view each story objectively, but they are only human, and the fact is you’re just not gonna be as enthusiastic about reading manuscript #9,976 as you were about reading manuscript #4. By #9,976, the excitement has died, your eyes are starting to blur, and Times New Roman font has become strangely nauseating.

So, make sure your manuscript is #4. Or, better yet, #1. Get up early and catch that worm! Give yourself the best possible chance to wow the judges in this fun and wide-ranging contest…And who knows, maybe that worm will turn out to be a trip to NYC to meet your future agent!

Best of luck!


2 thoughts on “Writer’s Digest Writing Competition: Be an Early Bird!

    • It made sense to me when I heard it, so I thought I’d pass it along :). And of course, the strategy can be applied to any writing contest, not just the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition.

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