Updated: Mar 23
We all need some help along the way. These are writing inspirations and competitions that have helped us - we hope they may help you too!
I, (Adriana Gillander) have submitted 6 times and been published 3. They do an almost monthly challenge,
"Visual Verse is a collaboration. An anthology of art, poetry, short fiction and non- fiction. Each month we supply a compelling image and invite writers – published or unpublished – to submit a piece in response. Visual Verse is a celebration. Of the drama of seeing and the desire to express it. Of the things that inspire us, move us, and that we find hardest to articulate. Visual Verse is a challenge. We offer you the chance to experience the rush of writing without overthinking. Sometimes strange, sometimes beautiful, let the picture be the start of something you can’t predict: your own response." - https://visualverse.org/about-visual-verse/
We love this because it is free!
We love this because it is a nonprofit.
At this point there aren't many submissions - about 120-200 for less than 100 publication spots.
We love this because it is visually inspired. - they provide a visual prompt every month.
We love this because it is easy and short - there is a 1 hour time limit and 50-500 words which makes it an attainable monthly creative goal!
CHAPTER 09 Cursed Cows https://visualverse.org/submissions/cursed-cows/
CHAPTER 11 The Midnight Leopard https://visualverse.org/submissions/the-midnight-leopard/
CHAPTER 01 The Rosy Hopped Warning https://visualverse.org/submissions/the-rosy-hopped-warning/
2. NYC Midnight
This site isn't free, but you get a few sentences of feedback from 3 editors. Most entries are $20-$50. This is what Lena and Adriana have used for most of the stories you see on our site. Once you sign up and the competition begins, you login to see your assigned genre, setting or character and an object (usually). The feedback hasn't always been super helpful, but usually there is something to be learned or garnered.
Why we like it
Paying makes us do it. We kept trying to say we would do weekly then monthly prompts, but without having paid for it, it was all too easy to let other parts of our lives take precedence over writing. But having spent money made us do it. We particularly like the flash fiction and short story competitions, as having a deadline is necessary for the neurospicy - and having a word count limit is really helpful for editing. We also liked flexing our imagination into other genres we typically would not try, (okay that's a lie - neither of us enjoyed Political satire or historical fiction as it took a lot of research in a short time:)
There is a cash prize for entries and multiple prompts. Aside from having a wealth of knowledge on their site, and really helpful youtube videos, Reedsy can help the burgeoning and established writer in many ways in addition to these weekly writing contests. We applaud their transparency in the countdown clock and entries to date, as well as having an easy way to explore new writing mediums and ideas through their prompts.
You have both the option of competing for a $5 fee or going for free and posting just to complete the challenge.
"Can authors submit more than one story per week?
All authors can submit one story per prompt. In other words, up to five stories per week. However, each story must be different. Duplicate entries will be removed. Authors entering multiple stories in one week to the competition will have to pay $5 per entry."
learn more on their FAQ page