10 Free Writing Contests

When you set out on the quest of finding the perfect contest to enter, you have to be careful to not get scammed. Unfortunately, there are many people out there that will try to get your money by promising fame and fortune. Fortunately for you, I have found 10 writing contests that are free to enter that are scam free.

  1. L Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future

They have quarterly deadlines of January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1

Submissions have to be 17,000 words or less in science fiction or fantasy. The contest is open to all writers. Winners can get $1,000, $750, and $500, as well as an annual award of $5,000.

2. The Restless Books Prize For New Immigrant Writing

You will have to wait for the 2019 submission time, which has yet to be announced.

This is open to writers who are first-generation immigrants. They can win $10,000 for sharing their real or imagines stories. The contest changes each year as to what kind of writing they want, so keep an eye on their website.

3. Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award

The deadline is March 1 every year.

This is open to all African American poets with an award of $500 and a publication in Broadside Lotus Press.

4. Write the World

They have a monthly deadline.

This is open to writers aged 13 to 18. There is a $100 prize with a $50 runner-up prize. It also works as a writing workshop for the young writers.

5. The Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Non-Fiction

They have biannual reading periods in February and in August.

This is a contest for a creative non-fiction essay of no more than 5,000 words. The winner will be published in Lunch Ticket and will receive $250. Work cannot be published elsewhere.

6. W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction

The deadline is every year on December 1.

The winner gets $5,000 for a piece of writing that is set during a time when the US was a war. Submissions can be YA or adult novels.

7. Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Submissions are accepted between September 1 and December 31.

The work you publish has to have been published the previous year. These should be pieces of fiction or non-fiction that “contributes to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures.”

8. PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

They have an annual deadline of October 31 for books that were published during that calendar year.

This is meant to honor the best work of fiction published by an American author in a calendar year. The winner will get $15,000, as well as an invitation to read at the award ceremony in D.C. Four other finalists will get $5,000.

9. New Voices Award

The submission needs to be postmarked between May 1 and September 30 annually.

This is presented by the children’s book publisher, Lee & Low Books. This is open to previously unpublished children’s picture books of fewer than 1,500 words by a writer of color.

10. Madeline P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize

The deadline for 2018 has passed and they have not announced the submission time for 2019.

Lake Forest College along with &NOW Books offers emerging authors under 40 a three-week residency. The winner will receive meals and housing, as well as $10,000 and publication of the manuscript. They will have to give presentations during the festival.

To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard. – Allen Ginsberg

How to Make Money As a Beginner in Writing

You want to become a professional writer? Not a problem, and I’m serious about that. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it’s easy, but it is achievable. There are lots of different ways to make money with your writing. You could easily make a little extra money on the side, and you just might be able to make it your full-time job.

The following nine things are a great way to get started making money as a writer.


All writers need to have their own blog. This is the best way for them to create an audience. There are also different ways that you can make money through your blog. This can be done through ads or a hire me link.

Guest Post

You’ve probably got a list of blogs that you like to read, why not try pitching them an article? There are a lot of blogs that will accept guest posts and will pay you for them. Make sure you familiarize yourself extremely well with the blog so that you can pitch something that they would actually want on their site.

Pitch Your Alma Mater

Your college’s alumni magazine has to have writers, and they really like having past students write for them. Read up on your Alma Mater’s pitch guidelines and then once you know what they want, pitch something to them. One great tip: if you are able to get an interview with an alumnus that is doing really well, you’ve got yourself a pitch.

Listicle and TopTenz

Sites like these will pay people for their most clever top ten lists. There are also other sites that like these pop-culture lists that are filled with GIFs. Try to find the ones that are hiring and pitch to them.

Self Publish

I’ve written a blog on this before. Publishing with Amazon couldn’t be any easier, and it’s a great way to get your writing out there. This way you don’t have to adhere to anybody’s rules but your own.

Sign with a Content Site

Content writers write things like how-to articles, and they even pretend to be invisible boyfriends. (It’s a thing, look it up.) Make sure you familiarize yourself with the website and that your writing is mistake free. You will have to take an entry test for some, so make sure that you are prepared to pass it before you start it. Some sites are better than others. These are great places to check out to make money as a freelance writer.


After you have learned how to write clean copy for websites, the next logical step is to become a copywriter. You can check out websites, such as Get a Copywriter, to find work.

Writing Contests

Contests don’t discriminate between beginners and experts. There are a lot of contests out there. Some are free and some require an entry fee.

Pitch for Jobs

This is probably obvious, but one of the first steps any beginner freelance writer can take is to submit some applications. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to succeed as a freelance writer with base level skills and a willingness to work.

If you are serious about making money as a writer, try these nine tips. See which ones work the best for, and go from there. Above all else, don’t give up. Work hard, and you will succeed.

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect. – Anais Nin