Tag Archives: essay writing contest

Invisible Contest

ffw logoEach fall, Hope Clark hosts a Funds For Writers Essay Writing Contest, with a theme (hint: the theme is important if you want a shot at winning!)  Here are brief details to enter. Check out her site for the full details and to read previous winners. Good Luck!

Annual Contest: Funds For Writers

THEME: Invisible Writing

TOPIC Suggestions:

  • If you couldn’t publish, would you still write?
  • Do you write words you’re afraid to publish?
  • Do you hide words you hope no one will see until after you’re gone?
  • Do you write words so you can rip them up and destroy them?
  • Do you prefer to write anonymously?
  • Do you prefer to write and fear to publish?

Do you wish to fade away from the world and write?

Sometimes we write words to exorcise demons. We type or write them on paper then fear someone may read them. Whatever your issue, whatever your thought, whatever your habit, the general theme is INVISIBLE WRITING. Make the theme your own and let us know how INVISIBILITY works into your writing world. If you know anything about FundsforWriters, you know that we like lessons learned and motivational ideas.

We offer the same two categories – the $5 FEE category and the NO FEE category. Many writers do not believe in paying while others have no contrary opinion about an entry fee. Here we offer both so everyone has a choice. This way no one has an excuse not to submit.

Those that pay the $5 entry fee receive the Tweetebook of their choice.

What’s a Tweetebook? A Tweetebook is a mini-book of 20 markets that suit your specific writing genre/market/interest – a new FundsforWriters product. With the world on the run, living through electronic readers and smart phones, FFW designed a product to suit your fast-paced writing agenda. Take a peek! You receive a free one with your PAID contest entry – one to whet your appetite for more.

These are new to FundsforWriters, and our library will continue to grow with them, using popular as well as unique writing niches. So be on the lookout for more.

Remember…this is an essay, a nonfiction entry. No fiction, no poetry, no writing about someone else. We want this to be all about YOU. Entries are welcome from any race, religion, gender, nationality or other diverse group.


$5 ENTRY FEE Category

<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>First Place – $200

Second Place – $40

Third Place – $20


First Place – $50

Second Place – $20

      Third Place – $10


Filed under contests, Creative Essays

Contests: Entering or Judging – which is harder?

As we wrap up this week of Father’s Day essays,  I thought I’d reflect on my experience as a judge vs. a contest entrant.

I have submitted entries to scads of writing competitions: short fiction, genre fiction, essays, first chapter of a novel, 3 sentence contests, 100 Words or Fewer* contest and even a contest to win a free on-line writing course (Which I won. On my second try…)

However, the essay writing contest I judged here was my first opportunity at wearing the hat of a “judge.”  Both experiences are challenging and rewarding.

When entering a submission to a contest, I’ve learned a few things to help gain some control over how my piece will place.

First, I note the deadline. If I won’t have enough time to do my research on the contest and the writing and revision of an entry, I will most likely pass on the contest.

Second, I notice the entry fee. Free is always acceptable! : ) But, I’m not opposed to paying an entry fee under these circumstances: if the prize(s) justify the fee (fee is 10% or less of the first place prize); if  I will receive a critique of my entry or a subscription to a writing newsletter or magazine at no additional cost.

Third, I reviewthe site, blog or publication hosting the contest. Is it reputable? Would I be proud to have my work published there? Would it fit my writer platform? In other words, I wouldn’t want my work to appear in a magazine or site that doesn’t produce the best (spell-checked and grammar-checked) writing.

Also, while reviewing the site, I read and study the previous winning entries. If the judge gave comments, I take those to heart, as well. Compare the winning entry with the guidelines and see how closely they were followed: the word count, the genre or topic, the pacing and flow of language and the overall take-away effect on the reader.

Last, but certainly not least, I will study the judge’s profile(their background, their blog and/or website) AND the contest guidelines. If the word count is 1,000 max, I stay under 1,000 words. If the instructions say No Attachments, I don’t send attachments, even as a back-up to the entry I typed in the body of an email.  When the judge sees that electronic paperclip, they might not even open my email!

Which brings me to my role as contest judge.  The basics of judging were easy. One entry I received was over 700 words, it was immediately disqualified.  One entry was submitted as song lyrics. As original and fun as that was, it was not an essay, therefore, also disqualified.

Some entries were submitted with poor grammar or spelling. I’m sorry, but Microsoft Word can correct that with one click of a button.  If English is your second language, be sure to have your piece reviewed by someone who speaks perfect English to point out any small errors in sentence structure or word choice.

The entries that made it past the basic review, were well written, but some missed the mark on the take-away feeling I was looking for.  I wanted to know how your dad shaped the person you are today. Some pieces were beautiful and showed a great portrait of Dad, but didn’t tie back to a central theme, they just kind of petered off.

I admit it was difficult judging, knowing what writers put into their work and the pins and needles feeling while waiting for that announcement.  You don’t know, as a judge, how your decision has affected those writers. It could have been their final straw at writing.

Though, I hope, those entering writing contests learn from their losses, gain confidence and endurance to trek a little longer on this path of creativity.  And submit their work (and their hearts) again and again.

*P.S. Come back tomorrow for the link to the official announcement of the winners of the 100 Words or Fewer Writing Contest. I won First Place! : )


Filed under Advice, Believe, contests, emotion, Fiction, Get Published, Inspiration, Perseverance, Platform/Marketing, Voice, writing inspiration

Father’s Day Essays: Honorable Mentions, Pt 2

The second Honorable Mention Award goes to…

Patricia Wigeland, for her essay entry on her “Pappy.”

       Pappy.  That’s what we three siblings called our father.  Maybe not the most intellectual man I’ve ever known, but definitely the wisest.
      Once, when maligning myself for something foolish done as a teen, my father chuckled saying, “Every one makes a foolish mistake once in awhile.  If they say they never have, they are either lying or fooling themselves.”
      “Pappy, you’ve never done anything foolish,” I had countered.
      “I did.  Once I bought a treasure map from a man for one hundred dollars when I lived in Utah during the Second World War.”
      My father then bought a horse and rode out, map in hand, to seek his fortune.  Taking food and water for himself and the horse plus a pistol for protection, he traveled for five days, the map as a guide, but found nothing.  Turning back, he became painfully aware he had misjudged the needed amount of water.  The horse stepped in a crevice after a snake spooked it and broke a leg. Pappy had to shoot the horse.
      Wandering through the heat, he found himself followed by a vulture for two days.  Walking until he found a river, he followed it to a bend and a miner’s cabin.  The miner took him in, gave him shelter for a few days and a horse to ride home.
      “What did you do with the horse?” I asked, amazed by the revelation.
      “I brought him back,” Pappy answered, “because whatever else you do, you live up to your obligations. The miner saved my life. It was my obligation to return that horse.”
      His wisdom wasn’t about never making a foolish mistake; it was about the consequences and a person’s obligations to correct them.
      Pappy passed away at one hundred one years old.  I guess he had the right idea. 
* * *
BIO:  I’m just an aging country girl from Iowa looking to make a career change to writing before I get too old.  If all else fails, I will have at least added writing to my personal “bucket list”.
I enjoyed Pat’s essay for its  story within a story format and the added adventure of following Pappy on his foolish gold hunt. Great lesson learned: fess up to your mistakes and do what you need to make things right.
Please come back tomorrow when I share an essay on my own Dad.


Filed under contests, Creative Essays, emotion, Non Fiction, writing inspiration

Winner of Honor Your Father Contest!

How fun, although challenging, to host and judge an essay writing contest.  I want to thank everyone who participated and helped to promote this contest.  I enjoyed reading these essays and “getting to know” your dads.  I hope by writing and reflecting each of you experienced a new appreciation or warm welcomed memory of  “Dad.”

And the winner is…

Judy M. Miller

Congratulations, Judy!  Please enjoy Judy’s winning essay and my mini review which follows.


The Lessons of the Green Dad

By Judy M. Miller

We had one of the greenest, weed-free yards due to our ducks and the persistence of my father. Thanks to my father’s planning, each of my three brothers received a duckling via the Easter Bunny (I received a baby bunny that year, which lived to a ripe old age).

Dad was “green” decades before being green was a concept. As the ducklings grew into big bossy biting ducks, they became voracious insect and pest eaters. They also became the most prolific fertilizing machines in our small rural community.

My father followed in the wake of our ducks. His bright orange plastic child’s bucket served as his weed collector; it had to be emptied out repeatedly because of the success of the ducks fertilizer throughout our vast acreage. I would watch him, down on one knee, systematically digging out the dandelions, by the root, every spring and summer evening that he wasn’t traveling for work. He weeded with a wood-handled forked metal dandelion tool.

With his white fur-covered legs sticking out of his shorts, his business socks still on, and wearing white gym shoes, my father was an amusing site. I was not allowed to help, but I did observe and comment.

“Dad, why do you weed like this?”

“They won’t return, honey. You have to get them by the roots, see?” And he would show me the difference between weeding the right and wrong way. “You always do the best job. It pays off down the road.”

He never hurried. I did notice that there were fewer weeds as time went on.

I learned a lot from watching my father weed; something I carry today and pass along to my own children. Patience, perseverance, and doing something the right way has results.

And, yes, I weed like my father…


Judy’s essays and articles have appeared in parenting magazines. Her story, “Souls Speak”, is featured in A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families: Stories That Celebrate a Special Gift of Love. “Healing the Roots of Our Grafted Tree” is featured in the upcoming Pieces of Me: Who Do I Want to Be? (EMK Press, September, 2009). She blogs at The International Mom’s Blog and Grown in My Heart.

I chose Judy’s essay because she followed the guidelines given: kept under the word limit, included a title and author bio and used beautiful language in her own unique “voice.” The image of Judy’s dad stayed with me (especially the business socks and white gym shoes) and I loved that she learned such a valuable life lesson from watching her dad perform such a small daily task.  Congratulations, Judy!

Stayed tuned the rest of the week for the essays that received an honorable mention and remember to Honor Your Father in your own special way !

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Filed under books, contests, Creative Essays, emotion, Non Fiction, writing inspiration

A Daddy of a Contest!

ANNOUNCING:  Writers Inspired 1st Essay Writing Contest!

(This contest is CLOSED)

Mother’s Day is usually the “motherlode” holiday to celebrate parenting and all its up’s and down’s.  Moms get “chore coupons”, cards dotted with sequins and even homemade pinch pots made of clay.

But what about Dads and all they do? Father’s Day is sandwiched between graduation parties and 4th of July picnics. No coupons, no cards made in the classroom and certainly no fire-glazed pottery.

So, I decided, with the help of my author friend, Joe Deyo, to host a contest:


Write an essay describing the best memory you have of your father and how he shaped you into the adult you are today.  You can also write an inspirational essay of how the father of your child(ren) rocks as a “daddy.”  I’ll be judging the entries based on: beauty of language, power of author’s voice and overall emotion: make us LOVE your dad (or the dad of your children!)

$0 entry fee / 300 word count

Deadline: 12midnight, Friday, June 12

Include Title, Name, Email and brief bio

Send entries in the BODY of an email (attachments will NOT be opened) to mjcwriter”at”comcast”dot”net

Winner announced : Monday, June 15 checklists_cover

Winner will receive* an autographed copy of Joe Deyo’s Checklists for the New Dad and have their winning essay “published” on Writers Inspired (Author retains all rights)

*Must have US mailing address for shipment of book

Runners-up entries may be posted throughout the week leading up to Father’s Day

Good luck!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~   *  *  * ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And to help inspire you and thoughts of “Dad”, please enjoy this interview with the author of Checklists for the New Dad, Joe Deyo:

How did you find time to write a book while working full time in sales and still having time for your wife and children?  Did you have a writing schedule, or just sneak in sentences in the nooks and crannies of your day?

Every writer certainly has a different schedule and mix of priorities.  I have a full time day job as well as being a full time husband and father.  I knew when I set out to write a book that it couldn’t take away from those responsibilities.  So for me that meant going to bed a little earlier and getting up earlier to write.  Weekends included.  Mornings are also when I am the most energetic and creative so I usually do my best work between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. while everyone else in the house is sleeping.  I am usually out of gas at the end of the day so that is personally not a good time for me to write or revise.  It works best for me to do a little bit every day rather than try to do a lot in one day.

Tell us about your speaking engagements. Did you use these first to build your platform as an author or did these come after the book release?

For me the speaking engagements came after the book release.  I always knew that speaking would be a big part of what I do.  But I chose to focus all of my energy on completing the book first and then speaking.

As a first time author, can you tell us about the process of finding an agent, then a publisher?  What tips can you offer other beginners?

Finding an agent and a publisher can be the hardest and most frustrating part of the book business.  There are lots of great books and websites to help in the process but here are my top five nuggets of advice:

1)     Before you even begin to solicit agents put together a killer book proposal.  This may be the most important writing you ever do.  Do your research on what makes a good one.  A good timeless article to start with is Writing a Winning Book Proposal by Michael Hyatt.  It is available as a PDF on the web at www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/Downloads/WritingABookProposal.pdf.

2)     The difference maker for many projects is the author’s platform and marketing plan.  Don’t neglect this part of your book proposal.  It needs to be detailed, well thought out, and realistic.  Don’t count on Oprah.

3)     Research which agents might be a fit for your particular project.  Don’t blindly send a query to just any agent.  Two good tools to help you get started are Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents and Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide.

4)     Set aside some time and money to go meet an agent in person before you sign with them.  This is a huge partnership and you need to meet and be comfortable before doing business with each other.  Establishing that personal connection with the agent and their staff will help you down the road when you need some attention.

5)     If you decide to self-publish I recommend reading Aaron Shepard’s book Aiming at Amazon.

Lastly, I remember asking my agent early on what I could do as an author to be a great client for him.  His answer was, “Write a great book.”  That is as simple as it gets.

Are there any follow up books in progress on fatherhood or marriage?

For now I am really focused on maximizing the potential of the current release, Checklists for the New Dad.  This includes speaking engagements, article writing, media exposure, and other marketing efforts.  But like most writers I am always thinking about the next project and I have been putting some early notes together for it.  Stay tuned!

Can you share a favorite memory you have of your dad from your childhood, or a favorite memory of being a new dad, yourself?

Some of my fondest memories as a child growing up in rural Idaho are the fishing trips I took with my father and my grandfather.  We might not have said 20 words to each other in a two-hour trip but we were together having fun.  Now today I take my own kids fishing and we share the same connection—enjoying each other’s company, the outdoors, and a tug on the line.

Come Back tomorrow for more on Joe Deyo and the inspiration for his book: Checklists for the New Dad


Filed under Advice, Author Interviews, books, contests, Creative Essays, Inspiration, Markets, Non Fiction, Platform/Marketing, Voice, writers, writing inspiration