Writing short stories is enjoyable. They don't take long
to write and they are fun to do.
There are magazines who accept short story submissions, and
there are plenty of short story competitions with what
seems to be more opening up all the time.
And submitting your work to short story competitions can be
even more profitable than submitting them to magazines
because the prize money can be quite substantial with some
paying thousands of dollars.
The biggest of these every year is the BirdPort Prize and
the BBC short story competition.
These prizes are huge. The 2013 top prize in the BBC
competition was a whopping £15,000. That equates to around
$23,000 US dollars. Not bad income from writing a short
But not only is the prize money good, but writing and
submitting short stories to competitions has another big
Anyone who's a writer knows that it's an extremely solitary
career. You sit alone and write all day and never allow
anyone to interrupt you because you need absolute focus if
you want to earn money from your writing.
This is where writing short stories for competitions can
If you do a quick Google search of the internet, it's easy
to find hundreds of short story competitions.
You then need to find as many as you can to enter. It doesn't
matter if it's one of the big prestigious competitions or one
run by a small website. What you need to do is find plenty
that you can enter, whether you have a story ready, or a story
idea in your head, or not.
Make a note of the closing dates for each of them and list
them in order from the closest date to the furthest away.
Then come up with a story idea for each one. You can think
of them all at once, or think of them one at a time as you
progress through your list.
If you find a dozen or more competitions, it can keep you
busy writing for up to a whole year. And with guidelines
to follow and deadlines to meet, it will make you feel less
like you're working alone and help you stay focused because
you won't have time to waste.
There are writing competitions that publish all the short
listed stories in a anthology. So even if you don't win
the top prize, having your work in a publication such as
these can help to get you known as a writer so it's great
And if you enter as many competitions as you can, you could
end up with your name as an entrant, or as a short listed
contestant, on many websites all over the internet which
is also great marketing.
There are 2 different types of competitions. Paid and free.
It's up to you whether or not you want to pay to enter. But
if your ideas great and your writing is good, and you win
a few prizes, the entrance fees could be a good investment.
Having said that, there are plenty of places you can enter
for free to begin with.
But don't forget the 3 most important things.
Read the rules. Read the rules. Read the rules.
I cannot emphasize enough how important this is because
no matter how good your work is, if you haven't followed
the rules for submission, or you haven't formatted your
work correctly, your entry might be voided.
So if they say to enter by post, don't email your submission.
If they want you to fill out a lengthy submission form, fill
it out correctly. If they want your work double spaced, double
So all you have to do now is surf the net, find as many
competitions as you can that are suitable for what you can
write, and enter them all by following the rules of submission
and meeting all the deadlines.
It will be fun and (hopefully) more profitable than you could
ever have imagined.
About the author: Ruth Barringham is a writer from
Australia and is founder and CEO of Writeaholics.net, an
inspirational website for writers. Subscribe for updates
and receive 4 free reports for writers.