CONTESTS: Adding Flowers To Your Writerly Bouquet


Each year, I sit down and list my writing resolutions for the coming year.  This year, in addition to challenging myself to a daily mix of picture books and poetry, I’ve set a goal to enter at least two children’s writing contests.

Why? Because contests are a fun way to stretch myself by writing to the contest requirements.  They also provide nice change of pace from picture books and poetry. I’ve entered contests in the past – both the Highlights Annual Fiction Contest as well as several of the Children’s Writer contests.  I even won the grand prize, once, a long time ago, when the Children’s Writer ran history profile contest.  But even in the non-winning years, the entries I have written have helped shape my voice and skill as a writer. Here are three well-recognized, legitimate contests for children’s writers that I recommend, if you, too, decide that you’d like to stretch yourself in this way.

Highlights for Children Annual Fiction Contest.  Contest themes vary from year to year.  This year’s call was for stories for beginning readers, up to 500 words. All entries must be postmarked between January 1 and January 31 of the contest year and be previously unpublished. Winners are announced in June. There is no fee to enter. Click here for more details.

Pockets Annual Fiction Contest.  Entries accepted any time between March 1 and August 15 of the contest year. There is no theme, but you should read their writers’ guidelines to get an idea of their style and needs. Entries must be between 750 and 1,000 words. Winners are announced November 1.  There is no fee to enter. Click here for more details.

Children’s Writer Contests. The themes of these contests varies.  Past themes include middle-grade mystery, and poetry or verse story. The current contest is for a fiction piece about exploration for kindergarteners, up to 150 words. Contest entries must be received by July 12.  Winners will be notified in the October 2013 issue of their newsletter.  There is a $15.00 entry fee, which entitles you to an 8-month subscription to their top-notch newsletter about trends and tips in the current children’s writing market. Click here for more details.

11 thoughts on “CONTESTS: Adding Flowers To Your Writerly Bouquet

  1. I love entering all of these contests, even though I have never won. I think I was third in a Children’s Writer one once… or honorable mention or something. But I think contests are a fun way to stretch your writing comfort zone!

  2. Thanks for sharing the contests. It IS a great idea to enter contests. I’ve entered a few and won one and a letter of merit in another. It’s nice to add to your writing credentials when you query. I wish you well in your upcoming contests. Laura!

  3. I love contests too, Laura. I’ve never won either, but it’s great experience and can add to your collection of work that you can refine and send out to other places. For example, I reworked a story I originally wrote for a Children’s Writer contest into a rebus and sold it to Highlights.

  4. I love that you enter contests. That’s encouraging to me. A few years ago, before I got serious about devotional writing, I submitted an entry to the annual MOPS writing contest and won. That’s what convinced me maybe my skills were promising enough to venture into the non-business writing world. I’m grateful!

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