Thursday, May 24, 2012

Temper Impatience with Writing Contests

Writing a good book is an incredible thing, but it takes a long time – and then there’s revision. It’s easy to lose focus, to fall victim to the “I just want to be published already” feeling.

When I start getting this itch, one thing that really helps me is writing contents/challenges. I’m not talking about the big ones like the ABNA or Writer’s Digest, but the smaller ones run on blogs and writing websites that have a quick deadline and near-instant gratification through peer cheerleading and fast resolutions. They may not have great prizes – or prizes at all – but they’re fantastic for breaking up the monotony of writing thousands of words in seclusion.

My favorites are the flash fiction ones, because they don’t allow you to obsess over perfection for days, weeks, months. Spending a day or a week on a shorter piece may be just the thing you need to rejuvenate your enthusiasm for your novel. BONUS: Most of the writers who participate in these things are really supportive of each other, so you may end up making new writer friends, too!

Here’s a list of some of the ones I’ve found:
(Note: I haven’t participated in many of these so don’t take this as an endorsement, just a link!)

ALSO, this Friday (tomorrow), Jessa Russo will be hosting a 24-hour Flash Fiction contest with yours truly as your judge. In Jessa’s competition, the winner from the previous week judges the competition. So hop on over to her blog, read my story from last week, find out a little more about the contest, and get ready to write some flash fiction!

And if you know of any other sites that do frequent short fiction challenges, please leave a link in the comments!


  1. Cool post Sarah. I love short story writing and I totally agree that it can help with motivation.

  2. Thanks for posting these links! Smaller contests like this are something I haven't yet put the time into researching. I wrote flash fic a couple times but didn't feel confident enough to enter them. Well, once I did, to a small blog, and it was a fun writing exercise.