Are you in search of where to find free writing contests and cannot get hold of a reliable platform? Are you in search of where to find free writing contests and cannot get hold of a reliable platform? This article covers everything you need to know.

Read on to get the best recommendations and how to implement these platforms.

Where To Find Free Writing Contests?

Educational Websites

One of the most proficient avenues to uncover free writing competitions is via the internet. The digital universe supplies an impressive variety of tools for writers seeking competitions without requiring an entry fee. Websites such as Poets & Writers and PoemXtra offer extensive compilations of writing competitions, often classified by genre, subject matter, or writer qualifications.

These platforms are frequently updated with the latest competition news, proving highly beneficial for anyone interested in participating.

Social Media

Another invaluable tool to discover free writing contests is social media. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn host multiple writing communities where information about free contests is regularly shared. Following pages (follow Poemxtra’s official page) or joining groups dedicated to literary contests can provide timely updates on upcoming events.

Online Publications and Blogs

Various online publications and literary blogs organise periodic writing contests. Several blogs not only host their own contests but also provide listings of other competitions. Subscribing or regularly visiting these websites can ensure writers stay aware of free writing contests.

Literary Magazines

In addition to online resources, traditional literary magazines often host or advertise free writing competitions. Magazines such as The Atlantic and New Yorker regularly hold such contests catering to a range of literary styles. Subscribing to or regularly checking these magazines can offer writers excellent opportunities to submit their work.

Literature Organisations

Literature organisations, universities, and libraries, too, could be a rich source of information about free writing contests. The National Poetry Library, for instance, has a detailed list of poetry competitions, some of which are free to enter. Universities, especially those with vital creative writing programs, also regularly host free writing contests open to the general public.

Writing Workshops and Festivals

Lastly, attending writing workshops and festivals can expose you to a wealth of information about free writing contests. These events often have sessions or notice boards dedicated to writing opportunities, including contests and competitions with no entry fees.

In your hunt for free writing contests, it’s paramount to ascertain the authenticity of the competition. One can usually accomplish this by investigating the reputation of the hosting organisation or publication, verifying its history with such competitions, and examining feedback or testimonials from individuals who have previously participated. It’s essential to examine the contest’s terms and conditions rigorously to evade any concealed fees or obligations.

How To Prepare For Free Writing Contests

Understand the Guidelines

Every free writing contest possesses a distinct set of regulations that entrants need to be aware of. These directives might be regarding the theme, word limit, formatting, and deadline for submissions. Some competitions might demand that the creative work be unpublished or they may only accept entries from particular demographic groups. It’s of utmost importance to examine these regulations meticulously to certify your submission fulfils them. Non-compliance could result in disqualification, no matter how impressive and imaginative your submission may be.

Researching the Judging Criteria

In addition to interpreting the contest rules, understanding the judging criteria is beneficial. Some contests may be explicit in outlining the judging criteria, providing information like weighting for grammar, originality, storytelling, etc. whereas some may give generic guidelines. In cases where the requirements aren’t explicitly stated, you can deduce by researching past judging critiques or communicating directly with the organisers. This process assists to specifically tailor your work to meet what the judges are seeking.

Reading Past Winners’ Works

To get an idea of what wins a contest, consider reading past winners’ works. Such pieces provide insights into the preferred styles and themes, the complexity of the narrative, and the character development, among other aspects. Recognising these patterns could uncover the preferences of the judges. However, don’t sacrifice your originality — writing is an art, not a science, and you should always stay true to your voice.

Crafting Compelling Content

The key to winning is developing compelling content. This includes creating an engaging plot, offering relatable characters, and delivering a satisfying conclusion. Add depth to your narrative through solid world-building and utilise literary devices effectively. Always make sure your work is grammatically flawless. Editing and proofreading are critical; you want to present your work as professionally as possible, catching and rectifying any errors before judges see them.

Practising and Gathering Feedback

Good writing results from relentless practice. Regularly engage with writing exercises to refine your skills. Additionally, seek feedback from others, be it friends, family members, writing groups, or experienced authors. While the feedback might be subjective, it’ll offer valuable perspectives you might have overlooked. Critiques can uncover areas of improvement and strengths to further refine your submission.

Handling Contest Outcomes

Whether you emerge a winner or not, it’s equally important to deal with the contest results appropriately. If you don’t succeed, view it as a chance to learn and better your skills, gaining from the experience and feedback received for improvement. It’s essential to accept both triumph and defeat with grace, gaining insight from each experience. Remember, never to shy away from submitting your work to more contests. Every attempt made is a stepping stone in your writing journey.

Submission Tips For Free Writing Contests

Tips for Contest Entries

In participating in free writing contests, it’s of utmost importance that you adhere strictly to the desired guidelines laid out by the organisers. These often specify factors such as word count, genre and submission deadline. It’s crucial to give these instructions a careful read as abiding by these rules could be decisive in whether your entry is accepted or not.

Formatting Your Submission

Most contests will specify exactly how they want entries to be formatted. This may include specifics such as font type, font size, margins, or spacing. These restrictions help facilitate the judge’s reading process and ensure the fairness of the competition by keeping the presentation the same across all entries. Not complying with the contest’s formatting guidelines may result in your submission being rejected, so make sure you double-check and match the required format completely.

Proofreading and Revision

It is essential to thoroughly proofread your work before submission. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes may detract from the quality of your story, so take time to review your work for any errors. Most word processors have built-in spelling and grammar checks, but these tools won’t catch everything. Whenever possible, have a friend or mentor read over your work – they might catch something you missed.

In addition to basic proofreading, providing ample time for revisions is crucial. Reread your work several times to check the narrative flow and coherence, and see if there’s anything that could be improved. This attention to detail may be the difference between an average submission and a winning one.

Meeting Deadlines

Strict adherence to the contest deadlines is non-negotiable. Most contests will not accept submissions beyond the posted due date. Ensure you are aware of the deadline and plan your writing and reviewing process accordingly. Providing extra time will not only allow you to polish your submission but also cater for any last-minute technical issues that may arise when submitting.

Originality and Plagiarism

Lastly, always remember to submit original work. Plagiarism is a serious offence in writing. Submitting someone else’s work as your own could lead not just to disqualification from the contest, but damage to your reputation and potential legal consequences as well. Not only should your work be original content, but it must not have been previously published elsewhere, including online. Some competitions do allow for submissions that have been published before, but they will specify this in their guidelines.

There are numerous benefits to participating in free writing contests, not the least of which are increasing your chances of success, smoothing the contest process, and ensuring your writing is presented in the best light. Take these tips on board and put your best foot forward, but most importantly, enjoy the exciting world of writing and best of luck!

How To Utilize Free Writing Contests

Leveraging Free Writing Contests as Educational Opportunities

For burgeoning writers especially, free writing contests are a treasure trove of learning opportunities. They offer the chance to explore and experiment with various themes, styles, and genres that may be new and uncharted territories. Additionally, such contests demand creativity and interpretative skills for novel writing techniques. The rules and guidelines — including word count, theme, character specifics, and format — present the challenge of producing high-quality content within specific guidelines, a crucial skill in the professional writing arena.

Networking through Free Writing Contests

Free writing contests can serve as ideal platforms to connect with like-minded individuals and industry professionals. Whether these are fellow participants, judges, or organisers, each presents an opportunity for you to expand your professional network. A community vibe often exists in contest environments, encouraging the exchange of ideas and feedback. This interaction can lead to collaborative projects, mentorship, or simply create friendships grounded on a shared passion.

Benefitting from Feedback in Free Writing Contests

In addition to this, receiving feedback is another vital benefit of participating in free writing contests. Judges in these contests are often experienced writers or industry professionals, and their critique can provide invaluable insights into your writing. This feedback can spotlight areas of strength and identify points for improvement, a crucial step in mastering the art of writing. Even if a particular contest does not provide critique, consider seeking feedback from fellow participants or writing circles online.

Enhancing Writing Skills through Free Writing Contests

Entering a free writing contest compels you to finish a piece of writing, which in itself can be a valuable exercise in discipline and meeting deadlines. The act of polishing a piece to meet contest standards pushes you to elevate your writing standards, inevitably enhancing your skills.

Moreover, the competitive aspect can encourage writers to go beyond their comfort zone and experiment with different styles and genres. This exploration can unlock talents and preferences you may not have discovered within your regular writing routine.

Lastly, the possibility of reward – whether monetary, publication or simply recognition – serves as a motivation to produce your best work. The experience of having others read and judge your output can prepare you for later professional ventures where public scrutiny is routine.


These platforms can foster learning, extend networks, offer critical feedback, and refine writing capabilities. Even if you do not secure the coveted winning position, the enriched writing journey they offer proves rewarding in itself.

Considering these multifaceted aspects, engagement in free writing contests serves to offer growth, self-improvement and the prospect of wider literary recognition for both aspirant and seasoned writers. The benefits range from honing writing abilities, gaining constructive criticism, and provision of a creative outlet, through to networking within the literary community.

To make the most of these opportunities, a combination of diligent preparation, careful adherence to submission guidelines, and using each contest as a learning experience is crucial. After all, the journey of a writer is paved not just with wins, but also with experience, resilience and continuous personal development.


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